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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Archive for the ‘Conflict Management’ Category

Effective Conflict Management – Learn These Stages to Resolution

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Our response to conflict can sometimes be seen as a circular pattern – a trigger event happens, followed by one person’s negative, confrontational response, which then prompts a similarly negative response from the other person…and on and on. What if, instead of falling into this cycle of conflict when a trigger event occurs, we, instead, had the training that would enable us to make a better choice of how to respond, breaking the cycle altogether? A conflict resolution video can teach your team how to productively respond to conflict when it occurs with effective stages of conflict management.confilict-management

Events that trigger conflict at work can vary widely, from body language that one person interprets as angry or offensive, to a co-worker verbally attacking you for how you submitted a project. While some people’s reaction to that trigger event might be to clam up or run away, often people will fight back: they’ll respond emotionally and defensively.

The first of the stages of conflict management is to step back and get some perspective. Do not respond to the trigger event immediately; instead, force yourself to take a deep breath, ask to speak about the issue later, or ask to move to a more private location to talk. All these things will allow you a few moments to calm your body and gain some perspective on the situation.

Next, endeavor to control your emotions. This is easier said than done when you’re upset by another person’s words or actions, but it is vital to turning the conversation into a productive one, capable of a constructive outcome. One way of controlling your emotions is to depersonalize the comments that have been made. Another tip to keep in mind is to give the other person the benefit of the doubt – don’t assume he or she is mean, or is out to get you personally; instead, perhaps they don’t have all the information, or are having a particularly bad day. Taking a moment to rein in your own anger, fear or anxiety helps you respond more constructively and also helps the OTHER person remain calm.

Lastly, imagine, and then take action to create, a successful outcome. When planning your responses to the other person, envision a response that respects the other person, while focusing on solving the issue. Ask clarifying questions, and even try to empathize with the other person (“It seems like you’re upset…”). Then clarify aloud what both of your goals are in this situation. While staying calm and respectful, try to find a way to meet his or her goals as well as your own.

A conflict resolution video can be invaluable for demonstrating relatable workplace conflict scenarios and providing good behavior modeling for how to effectively work through the stages of conflict management. Conflict Clock: Taking T.I.M.E. to Resolve Conflict in the Workplace is designed to help employees, leaders & teams respond to workplace conflict by teaching four strategies to help participants break old & negative response habits.

Take Steps to Resolve Conflict at Work by “Unhooking”

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

The experience of feeling caught in an emotionally distressing situation at work is referred to as being “hooked.” To unhook from difficult personalities and conflicts on the job, train employees how to resolve conflicts on their own. Conflict resolution videos can be very valuable in this endeavor, providing clear “how to” steps to resolve conflict, and realistic behaviors to model (or avoid!).communicationskills

The workplace can be a volatile environment – tight deadlines, project failures, uncertain revenues – alongside coworkers with a mix of personalities, so it’s no surprise that sometimes people rub each other the wrong way. Although it’s usually unintentional, emotional, erratic or unprofessional behavior can disrupt your workflow and “suck you in” to a conflict before you know it. It’s important to take steps to resolve conflict before it interferes with your productivity.

One method of unhooking from conflicts at work is described below. The first step is to unhook physically from the problem. It’s a fact that when you are angry or upset, physical activity can often help you calm down and see the situation more objectively. It may be impractical in the middle of a conflict to head to the gym for an hour, but you can do small things to calm yourself physically: take a walk in the hallway, take some deep breaths, step outside for a minute or go get a cold drink of water.

The second step is to unhook mentally. To unhook mentally, we examine the situation to understand how it occurred, and think about how we can change our behavior. You may or may not be able to change the other person, but you can at least change your approach to the situation. Ask yourself some questions to help you objectively analyze the situation, like: What are the facts here? What is his/her part, and what is MY part in this conflict? What are my options for handling this? What outcome am I looking for here and what are the potential consequences of my various options?

The last step is to unhook verbally, by discussing the situation with the other party. Choose your language carefully by thinking about what to say to resolve the conflict, not perpetuate it. Try to use “I” statements to reduce potential defensiveness in the other party (“I feel ‘x’… when ‘y’…because ‘z’….so I’d like ‘abc’…”). When setting a new boundary with someone or suggesting a new way of doing things, state it clearly, without anger, in as few words as possible. Use positive, inclusive language and be sure to also listen respectfully to their ideas.

You may need to practice a few times before you are comfortable confronting difficult workplace situations, but these steps will help you begin to unhook from the workplace situations that are making your work-life less than the wonderful experience it can be.

Conflict resolution videos like Working With You is Killing Me can offer employees practical steps to resolve conflict. This video shows how to address disruptive behavior, set boundaries and improve interpersonal relationships at work.

4 Essential Conflict Resolution Steps

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Dealing with conflict in the workplace can cost employees and managers time, productivity, and emotional stress. Having organization-wide conflict resolution steps in place, however, will help everyone know how to tackle conflict constructively, instead of avoiding it or letting it get out of hand. Below are 4 conflict resolution steps that are essential to anyone’s conflict management “toolkit.”bluecollar

  1. Get clarity on the conflict. This first step is the most important since most of us do not take the time to back off and analyze why the conflict occurred and what we are looking for as a resolution. This step involves taking some time by yourself, before you address the other person, to ask some questions. This helps you avoid an unplanned, “knee-jerk” reaction to the conflict and the questions help you to get clarity on what’s going on, what you feel, what you ultimately want from this situation, and what you think the other person might want. Once you’ve made your way through these self-reflective questions, you’ll have a clearer picture of how to proceed – is it really a non-issue that you can let go of, or is it a legitimate problem that needs to be resolved?

  2. Talk to the other person. This seems like an obvious step, but many people will try to take a shortcut and just email (or text, etc.) the other person! When trying to work through a conflict, having the discussion in person is always best (or by phone if you’re geographically separated). Talking to the other person involves practicing our opening statement and issue description ahead of time, and then finding the time and place to have an open, two-way discussion with the other person. It’s critical to open the conversation with a statement that encourages collaboration (and not defensiveness). And, when describing the issue to the other person, make sure you include exactly what happened, how it made you feel, and the negative impacts the situation has caused.

  3. The third conflict resolution step is to listen to the other side. Once you’ve stated your side of the problem, you have to listen to the other person air their views and concerns. It’s the only way to understand their point of view. It will likely be uncomfortable, but it’s important that you never interrupt, that you give them your full attention, use positive body language (no crossing your arms or frowning), and paraphrase what you’ve heard to make sure you understand their point of view.

  4. Once both parties have aired their concerns, the last of these steps to conflict resolution is to work towards a solution. This step involves gaining agreement about the nature of the conflict, as well as the steps to be taken by both parties to resolve it. You should start by gaining agreement from the other person that there is a problem, and then make sure that you’ve both aired your concerns. Then it’s time to explore win-win solutions. Resolving conflict means finding a solution that does something for both participants, so be ready to communicate openly about the options. Lastly, plan a course of action based on the solution you’ve both agreed upon.

When conflict occurs, you never really know where the other person is coming from. You don’t know what might be happening behind the scenes for them, or what they are thinking. The most effective way to find out, and to resolve the situation, is to use these 4 steps to conflict resolution to help you and the other party find a fair solution you can both live with.

For a proven, bestselling training video that teaches effective steps to conflict resolution, check out What To Do When Conflict Happens. This program presents a practical and easy-to-use 4-step approach to managing conflict that helps individuals collect their thoughts and initiate resolution in the most productive way possible.

You’re Not the Enemy

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

bluecollar4Put people into a situation where they disagree, and pretty soon they’re squaring off at each other, each one digging in their heels and working hard to find reasons why they’re right and the other person is wrong.

We all do it. We do it in business meetings, in customer service situations, with colleagues, and even with the people we love most. It seems logical. After all, we want to win the argument. We want the other person to back down, to admit that we know best, to go along with what we want. Of course, that’s exactly what the other person wants as well. So there you are, each of you getting more and more frustrated and angry. In extreme cases, the conversation gets destructive and relationships fall apart.

And yet, there’s one simple concept that changes the whole scenario. What if neither of you was the enemy? What if, despite the fact that you’re disagreeing about something, you could come together as partners to find a way through, instead of battling it out?

It’s a radical shift that creates radical results. And you don’t even have to tell the other person what you’re doing. Just say to yourself, “This person is not the enemy,” and see how it changes how you feel and think, and what you say and do.

Recommended training resource: The barriers that go up between departments and individuals within an organization are destructive, and they can seem insurmountable. Of course, so too, did the Berlin Wall. In our program Tearing Down Walls, renowned management consultant, author, and speaker Dr. Stephen R. Covey uses the tearing down of the Berlin Wall as a powerful metaphor for the ways that people within organizations can break down the barriers between departments.


Bullying Role Play – Speaking Up for Yourself

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Activity Time: 20 minutes

• Divide into small groups of 4 – 6
• Determine who will be Mary (bully) and who will be the victim
• Review and prep: 7 minutes
• Practice speaking up: 5 minutes
• Switch and review roles: 3 minutes
• Practice speaking up: 5 minutes

Facts:bullying role play
You are a senior-level employee, and you have been employed at your organization for over two years. As a result of a merger, a new Executive Director (Mary) has been named. On her first day, Mary sent out a memo highlighting her background and educational experience. Many of you noticed that although she had over 15 years of experience in management, she did not hold an advanced degree.

Ever since Mary has been assigned to oversee your department, she has consistently bullied most of the senior-level employees. (more…)

Communicating Non-Defensively

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Communication in the workplaceIn today’s challenging workplace, even the most constructive criticism can be met with defensiveness. When people feel they are being attacked, their defenses come up and, from that moment on, no real communication or problem-solving can occur. Those on the receiving end of the defensive reaction respond in kind and a Chain of Defensiveness is established that can be difficult to break.

It comes as no surprise that defensive communication hurts organizational productivity. Fortunately, there is training available to address the issue. The Communicating Non-Defensively video training program reveals five essential steps to sending and receiving messages non-defensively:

  • Disengage from a defensive position
  • Empathize and disarm the defensive person
  • Inquire and focus on the issues
  • Disclose one’s own needs and goals non-defensively
  • Depersonalize the issues

These steps offer clear advice that is easily implemented when tempers may be running high. In a high-stress world with ever-encroaching deadlines and goals, Communicating Non-Defensively is exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to bypassing defensive communication.

What to Do When Conflict Happens

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Managing ConflictConflict in the workplace is bound to happen every once in a while. Conflicting personalities, mounting pressures, and tight deadlines can make for tense moments in any organization. The trick to minimizing conflict is to keep calm when it happens and not let the situation escalate. A small amount of conflict is normal; a huge, aggressive amount is not.

Conflict with others has been found to be the number one cause of workplace stress–mitigating it works wonders on morale and productivity.  The popular video What to Do When Conflict Happens is an essential tool for conflict management training. The program’s easy-to-implement instruction shows employees how to stay calm in the face of conflict and work with the other person to find productive solutions. (more…)

Attitude Virus: Curing Negativity in the Workplace

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Curing Negativity in the WorkplaceNegativity has the nasty ability to spread through the workplace like a virus; impacting everyone and taking out everything in its path. There is no place in any organization for bad attitudes (aren’t there enough challenges already?); they must be nipped in the bud. When employees are trained to spot these unhealthy attitudes, both in others and in themselves, they can be stopped and replaced with healthy, productive behaviors.

Our effective training video Attitude Virus: Curing Negativity in the Workplace helps employees turn around a sour attitude. Employees will learn how to keep negativity from spreading, build essential interpersonal skills, and reinforce positive behavior. The video will introduce viewers to common organizational attitude virus “carriers” that are unfortunately quite common in the workplace. (more…)

Managing Conflict

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Conflict Management Training VideosAs much as we would all like things at work to flow seamlessly, often times that is not the case. Mounting pressures, deadlines, and different clashing personalities can create their fair share of conflict at work. A small amount of conflict is normal and is nothing to worry about, but when it gets out of hand the workplace can become an even more stressful environment, which creates new problems in itself. Help your team manage conflict with the following videos.

What to Do When Conflict Happens- Conflicts at work are bound to happen, and it can be challenging to remain calm when they arrive. This video demonstrates how to effectively communicate when emotions are boiling over, as well as how to actively listen and come up with a solution to the problem. (more…)


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