Avoid Needless Conflict by Following These Basic Rules

Conflicts in the Workplace

Ineffective communication can cause conflicts in a workplace. Conflict Avoid needless disputes by following these basic rules:

• Set clear expectations. You’ll prevent lots of problems by letting employees know exactly what’s required of them as they do their work.

• Address problems immediately. Don’t delay when you see a problem that needs to be resolved. Discuss it openly so everyone has a chance to be heard.

• Respect differences. Don’t let every disagreement become a shouting match. Learn to respect personal differences—and encourage your employees to do the same.

— Adapted from the Business News Daily website

Skill Builders Courageous ConversationsSkill Builders can teach you and your people how to communicate expectations and hold each other accountable in a way that everyone wins. Assertiveness begins with each person suspending judgement and asking reasonable questions. Ask me about our 1-hour “Courageous Conversations” training, that will benefit your whole organization.

Say No Without Being Negative

Here’s how to say no without alienating people.

You can’t agree to every request from an employee, a co-worker, or even your boss. But saying no is never simple. Even if you have to deny a request or can’t help someone, you want people to know they can depend on your support and assistance. Here’s how to say no without alienating people:

• Say it clearly. Don’t duck confrontation by saying “Maybe,” or “I’ll see.” State your position in clear language: “No, I can’t do that.’

• Explain your reasons. Employees and colleagues don’t want to feel stonewalled. Explain clearly why you can’t do what they’re asking. For example, specific policies or priorities may make rejection necessary. Maybe you don’t have the skills to do a good job. Clarify the business needs behind your refusal so people are less likely to take it personally.

• Offer options when you can. When you close off one avenue, look for alternatives. For example, you may have to deny a request for time off during your team’s rush period, or turn down a bid for promotion if the employee needs more skills. However, you may be able to offer other days off, or coach the employee to develop those skills. Put some thought into your answer to make it the start of something positive.

— Adapted from Executive Matters

Skill Builders Courageous ConversationsSkill Builders can teach you and your people how to communicate expectations and hold each other accountable in a way that everyone wins. Assertiveness begins with each person suspending judgement and asking reasonable questions. Ask me about our 1-hour “Courageous Conversations” training, that will benefit your whole organization.

Maintaining Accountability – A Straightforward Process

Accountability

Holding employees accountable isn’t about punishing them for making mistakes.

Holding employees accountable is about working with them to determine the cause of a problem like a missed deadline or a lost customer, and finding a solution.

Start with an honest conversation. Describe the problem as you see it. Be specific. “You committed to finishing this project by Monday, but it’s now Wednesday and it’s not completed.” Then ask a simple, nonjudgmental question: “What happened?” Listen to the response with an open mind. Your objective is to find out whether the problem lies in the employee’s abilities or in his or her motivation. The former can be corrected with training and other resources.

The latter? Be sure you’ve explained expectations, priorities, and consequences clearly. Either way, address the problem directly and then move forward.

— Adapted from the Rush on Business website

Skill Builders can teach you and your people how to communicate expectations and hold each other accountable in a way that everyone wins. Assertiveness begins with each person suspending judgement and asking reasonable questions. Ask me about our 1-hour “Courageous Conversations” training, that will benefit your whole organization. ~ Judy Preston

Courageous Conversations Lunch & LearnJoin Judy for her Lunch & Learn series on Courageous Conversations.

We have all been faced with needing to have a “difficult” conversation with a co-worker. Sometimes we put them off or avoid the conversation altogether because of our fear of an unpleasant outcome. My goal in this Skill Builders Lunch & Learn series is to change your mindset from thinking of these conversations as “difficult” to thinking of them as “courageous.”

Series dates:

  1. Tuesday, May 5 ~ Noon-1pm
  2. Tuesday, May 19 ~ Noon-1pm
  3. Tuesday, June 2 ~ Noon-1pm

* Buffet lunch during each session is included in the fee. Please plan to be seated by Noon.

Date: January 1, 1970
Time: 12:00-01:00 p.m.
Event: Lunch & Learn Series
Topic: Courageous Conversations
Sponsor: Skill Builders, LLC
(406) 250-6816
Venue: Ninepipes Lodge
(406) 644-2588
Location: 69286 Highway 93
Charlo 59864
Public: Public

Change Difficult Conversations into Courageous Conversations

Courageous conversations at workWe have all been faced with needing to have a “difficult” conversation with a co-worker. Sometimes we put it off or avoid the conversation altogether because of our fear of an unpleasant outcome. It is helpful to change your mindset from thinking of these conversations as “difficult” to thinking of them as “courageous.”

Why do we avoid these potentially contentious conversations? Sometimes the element of surprise propels us into an emotional reaction. My friend “John” was recently having a phone conversation with “Susan,” who works for another company. Suddenly John hung up on Susan. When they talked it over later, Susan realized that she had offended John by making a derogatory comment about his company. John was suddenly so angry that he was afraid of what he might say and regret later, so he hung up. In the end, they were able to talk it over and they both learned something from the exchange.

The “Hot Potato”

When we are taken by surprise or confronted with a potential conflict and emotions flare, we  experience two common reactions: either flight or fight. This is what I call the “Hot Potato.” We either want to throw the potato back at the other person (fight or aggression), or quietly hide the potato (flight or avoidance). When we feel the emotionally charged “Hot Potato” reaction, it means we feel unsafe. If we recognize the same reaction in another person, it means they feel unsafe. Trust and feeling safe are key to healthy and productive communication.

We may also avoid certain conversations as a learned response where we feel pushed to choose between honesty and kindness. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings by telling them bluntly that we don’t like something they are doing, so we say nothing.

The most common response to potential conflict or a difficult conversation is silence. The consequences of silence and avoidance in a business are dramatic. It often results in increased costs, unhappy customers, low morale and ultimately a less profitable business.

The first step is to identify the “Hot Potato” reaction, and become curious about the safety issue.  Why would the other person feel unsafe?   Ask questions to find out what the other person is thinking.  Make it safe with an honest and direct message.  This will help encourage open communication, instead of silence, and it will create better results for individuals and businesses.