Got Conflict? Three Behaviors to Check, Conclusion

April 25th, 2016


Due to travel, I have been away from my desk for a few weeks. Now that I’ve returned, let’s get back into our discussion about conflict and behaviors which can either diffuse dissension or advance antagonism. I prefer the former over the latter and I’m sure you do too. How can you make it happen? Of the three essential behaviors which come into play for avoiding conflict, the first two we previously covered were: 1) communicate instead of criticize and 2) listen instead of blame. Revisit the details in my two posts immediately preceding this one. When tension is high and collegial interactions are low, people often don’t remember to communicate or listen. They’re too busy being overwhelmed and stressed. No matter how even tempered you may be, frazzled nerves make it easy to behave badly, opening the door for co-workers to forget about communicating and listening and instead slip into criticizing and blaming one another for issues and setbacks— our first two behaviors to be avoided. CONFLICT stress person lasers With this in mind, we have one last behavior to check to help cut down on conflict and promote a positive, supportive workplace …. in this case, collaboration is key.

Collaborate instead of alienate — What does collaboration mean to you? I see it as a productive combination of skills, cooperation and reciprocated respect. Add trust, sharing and having the other guy’s back. That’s not all. The brightest part of collaboration is collective commitment to achieving a common goal. It’s impossible to join forces when skirmishes are repeatedly unresolved and allowed to chafe into an embittered undercurrent. When this occurs united values, support and mutual regard eventually unravel, frequently producing alienated sub teams. A group should never be allowed to reach a level of discord where selected members spin off into separate alliances and produce an alienated “us against them” mentality. Such behavior is acidic, undercuts team achievement and must be promptly rectified. CONFLICT collaboration hands

Disagreements are going to happen. Several people working together means different styles will be in play. It’s fantastic when harnessed and used in a creative mode; it can be frustrating and produce controversy when it’s not. Need to recover from a run-in? Dump alienation and keep collaboration. Continuously dealing with and dissolving hostilities when they materialize will facilitate, nurture and reinforce fellowship. This helps prevent colleagues from becoming uncooperative, distrustful and alienated while influencing progressive relationships and accomplishments.

At the beginning of this blog series I mentioned a conference where I had the pleasure of enjoying a large group lunch which was flawlessly served in record time. As for the co-workers who organized and served the fabulous meal, they were functioning with tremendous teamwork. A shiny example of a well led crew, they applied the right mix of talent and resources to knock out an amazing outcome. You know when you see it, there’s a hum, a rhythm, a buzz of synchronized energy focused on splendid results. It’s wonderful to watch and even better to be part of, feeling the rush of team success – getting things done together and encouraging a shared, “got your back” environment, which makes it a regular occurrence.

Let’s turn to you. Got conflict? Start addressing issues by fostering adoption of positive interaction skills outlined above. Instead of criticizing, blaming and alienating, encourage improved communicating, listening and collaborating. These are the big three behaviors for mutually making bigger things happen. Do you have special techniques you use to keep conflict in check with your group? I would love to hear about it. Drop me a line and share your achievements in this regard … I look forward to hearing from you. *

*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.

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