Tag Archives: conflict resolution

Workplace conflict and how to approach the boss

Conflict Management

One of the hardest part of any job is not the work, but rather the people you work with. When a group of people from different backgrounds and cultures with different beliefs come together, it is inevitable that conflict will arise. If conflict does arise what do you do? If you do decide to approach your supervisor or boss to discuss the conflict in the workplace, here are a few tips how you should go about it.

Before approaching your boss think of a solution – Most supervisors, managers and bosses are busy and already have lot on their minds and things to deal with. They don’t need the extra problem having to deal with conflict among their employees. The best way to bring up extra issues with your boss is first to think up solutions for the conflict. This will not only help your boss without giving him an extra layer of worry but also show your leadership qualities and reputation.

Think about the risk between yourself and co-workers – Any workplace environment is a social arena and no interaction happens in a vacuum. before you approach your boss, first do your own risk to reward evaluation and make sure you understand and calculate your own personal standing in the office in relation to your co-workers. You don’t want to become the office pariah. So first decide if it is truly worth it before approaching your boss.

Always choose the right timing to approach your boss – Timing is everything with most things in life especially when you need to approach your boss and bring up issues of conflict in the workplace. For example, if you notice your boss returning to the office after a successful meeting or lunch with a client, and is chatty and smiling, chances are this is a good time to discuss conflict and problems in the workplace in a calm way. Avoid discussing issues just before important meetings that your boss has to attend and has a lot on his or her mind. Or just before the end of the day when everyone is preparing to go home and call it a day.

Act and be professional – Never approach your boss when you fuming, angry and upset. Supervisors and managers never want to deal with emotional people. It only adds to the problem. Rather take the time to calm down. Perhaps take a walk outside and take a deep breath before approaching your boss.

Discuss issues over lunch – Take your boss out for lunch. This will be appreciated because this does not happen very often where the boss is invited for lunch . It is also a good calm environment to discuss  any issues and allow both of you the time to focus on the issues you need to discuss.

Get all your thoughts and emotions in check – before approaching your boss to talk about any type of conflict in the workplace or even with your boss, make sure your get all your thoughts and emotions in order. Better to discuss any issues in a cool and calm way. Never talk badly about co-workers. Rather balanced and objective about the issue which will also help your case.

Be prepared to hear that you are wrong and take advise – Always have respect for other people’s ideas and input on how to solve any conflict situation. Sometimes in the heat of the moment it is hard to back down from your point of view or be able to see another person’s point of view. Always be thankful of any input and advice, and always try to carry out any advice or suggestion given to you. Always give your boss the chance to prove his leadership and try save the conflict. Don’t think you know everything. There might be a bigger picture and things happening behind the scene that you don’t know about or privy to. Always give any conflict time to settle. if it continues, you can always revisit the issue and discuss it further. Remember not all conflicts can be sorted and resolved on the spot.

Make sure that your record is clean – After confronting your boss about a conflict situation with a co-worker, your boss might approach the other party to hear what they have to say about the issue and you. Approaching your boss might force him or her to look into your personal records and behavior.

Never be afraid to admit that is your fault – Whenever there is a conflict I the workplace there is always a good chance hat there is more than one person at fault. If there is any chance that part of the conflict is your fault, don’t be afraid to admit it. Your honestly will be far more appreciated and it is more likely that your side of the story will be accepted.

The following tips will help you handle conflict more effectively in the workplace:

  • Defining what constitutes acceptable behavior is a positive step in avoiding conflict.
  • While conflict is not always preventable, the secret to conflict resolution is in fact conflict prevention where possible.
  • Pick your battles and avoid conflict for the sake of conflict.
  • Always stay calm and your composure.
  • Focus on the future, not the past.
  • Be open to compromise.
  • Hidden within almost every conflict is the potential for a tremendous teaching and learning opportunity.
  • Approach conflict with an open mind.
  • Listen to understand.
  • Give everyone the chance to speak and air their views.
  • Consider what might have caused the conflict.
  • State your case tactfully.
  • Attack the problem, not the person.
  • Try to cut the conflict off in its early stages.
  • Be mindful of your language.
  • Be sure the problem is resolved.
  • Avoid the blame game.

The Peace Table and the Boardroom

Black and white handshake

In today’s world, war and conflict resolution is more prevalent than ever. We are teaching peace to our children in the schools, but are we living it in the corporate world daily?

Do we have processes in place to resolve conflict when it arises? The work environment must be a professional community where cordial relationships of mutual respect, admiration and cooperation develop. However, there are also opportunities for competition, disagreements, conflict and politics. Any situation like that diminishes the effectiveness of the work environment. This conflict scenario can be seen as an opportunity for growth.

In the work environment, the leader has developed and worked hard to be in this key position. So too, this individual should be the one to guide the teams into effective conflict management. However, let us refer to this as the PEACE AND PRODUCTIVITY PROCESS

We must  internalize this process and start applying them in our own lives. That can be in our family, in our circle of friends, in our workplace, in the Staff Room. The principles are the same as in all our environments. Conflicts need to be resolved in order to restore the harmony of the community.

Here are some pointers:

  • There has to be an honest desire to resolve the conflict.
  • The courage to identify and verbalize one’s feelings in a civil way, uninterruptedly.
  • To be listened to respectfully and carefully.

A critical Steps to ensure resolution in the Boardroom is to verify that you understand what the issue is, by seeking clarity up front; the animosity that weighed heavily on the participants becomes alleviated once the truth has been verbalized and now the effort is made to clear the air and the emotional tension completely. It is possible, and fun, if both egos are kept in check and good will prevails.

In the boardroom egos may be the strongest and politics the vilest. Yet, in that community, especially a consensus has to be reached that conflicts need to be resolved peacefully and in order to achieve a goal the two participants in the matter have to be genuinely desirous to resolve the conflict.

Total integrity is key in this case. After all, we are supposedly dealing with two mature adults who have the best interest of the cause they are supporting at heart. Is it possible to put politics aside in the boardroom? When the chips are down it most certainly should be. Let us face it, the truth stated on both sides is going to solve the conflict, or at least move it to a different level, to a different point of contention. An authentic desire for a fair resolution on both sides cannot but produce positive results.

It certainly starts by trying to see and understand the situation from the other person’s point of view. That can only be done if the point has been stated candidly. Consequently, it comes down to the very simple principles started in school, look the person in the eye, say their name, and tells them how you feel and why. Take it from there.

In a case an adult disagreement, one should have a will to resolve it. This will always add value and openness to any environment and will  help remove negative energy from the respective group.