“Over 65% of performance problems result from strained relationships between employees” ~ Sloan Group Int’l
The majority of our lives is spent in communication with others. So it’s safe to say, conflicts happen. It’s a given.
Conflicts occur when one person shuts down and/or is not really listening to the other. Once one person is not listening, we’re doomed to have problems. Here are some things we do when that happens . . .
- Begin talking past one another
- Argue, yell, scream, throw our hands in the air
- Give up and don’t communicate at all
Unfortunately, these options do not tend to open up communication and deepen a relationship.
It happens with our co-workers and bosses, in our marriages or with other family members, and even long standing friendships . . . whatever relationship we have, we all face this struggle.
If the problem is not addressed in a way where we feel connected again, it is only a matter of time. We will end up leaving our jobs, getting a divorce, facing family strains, and even losing friendships.
How do we communicate with one another in a way that is productive and actually leads to everyone feeling heard and valued?
Does it feel like you’ve tried everything?
Here are 4 steps you can take. They are quick, easy steps that will definitely help:
1) Assume the Best: Most people are doing the best they can when dealing with conflict. Most are not actively trying to make things more complicated, though it might seem that way. By assuming the best, you will shift into a place of accepting things as they are and not as you want them to be. This still means you hope they will be better, but assuming the best will help you get there much quicker and easier.
2) Notice what others feel, not think: It is human nature to come from our emotions far more than rational thinking. We might share the things we “think” but the truth is, there are numerous underlying emotions that drive what we “think”. By learning to recognize what someone might “feel”, you are likely to be more in tune with what they are trying to communicate.
3) Silence is priceless: When communicating, we are often busier speaking than we are listening. Unfortunately, with everyone talking, there is little time for anyone to take in what is being said and see if it is a good idea or makes sense. At some point, it is crucial to allow time for silent reflection.
If you’re struggling with a difficult co-worker at a business meeting, check out this article, Dealing with Difficult People in Business Meetings, where we outline 4 steps in how to manage.
4) Accept the need to Walk Away: This can be the most difficult of all options but sometimes no matter how hard you try to connect with someone, there are forces happening beyond your control that make it impossible to connect on a truly deeper, more intimate level. You may know all the right “steps” to connect with someone, have all the right “conflict resolution strategies” yet it still seems to get nowhere. That’s when it might be time to let go and move on.
How do you handle workplace conflict? Share with me below