This morning, while preaching a sermon a part of a series called, "God on the Job," I addressed the tricky topic of "Conflict in the Workplace." As a general practice through my 20 years thatI have preaching, I always asked the staff and the session that I am working with to reflect on the passage or the topic at hand. Perhaps in no other place that I have served as a pastor have I found that people had more practical training in the area and topic of conflict in the workplace. The following blogpost represents a few of the great ideas that I got this past week, that didn't make the message. These pieces of advice came from people in the field of law, teaching, business, ministry and therapy: Enjoy!
How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace?
1. Pick Your Battles: Not every fight or argument is worth having, pick wisely before you enter into conflict.
2. Remember the Conflict Isn't About You: Most conflicts, even though they may be directed at you, are actually not about you. More likely, you are the scapegoat or the presenting problem, but there is often an underlying reason for the conflict that isn't about you.
3. Sometimes you Don't Know What's Happening In a Person's Life: Everyone comes to a conflict with a history of something. Rarely do we ever know what a person's whole story is before we engage with them.
4. Assume Positive Intent: The tendency is to demonize anyone who disagrees with us. "They are trying to bring us down," "They are trying to make me look bad." However, assuming positive intent, even if there isn't really totally positive intent can help a great deal.
5. Focus on the Resolution: Rarely are our conflicts made better by rehashing them. What has happened, how things went wrong. Focus on the future, the resolution.
6. Try to Understand What We Can Learn: Even unhelpful conflicts can teach us something about life or about ourselves.
7. Mentors Help: If you have someone that is a wise counselor in your life that you can talk with about your conflict, a larger picture or lesson can be arrived at.
8. Try to Get to Know Someone On a Personal Level: A woman told me recently that her boss was such a difficult person to work with. The only recourse she had was to get to know her boss better on a personal level, to try to understand him as a person. She said it helped!
9. Don't Bite On Every Piece of Bait: In every conflict there are usually a whole number of issues that a person puts forward that you can engage with. Choose wisely on what you bite on. And you don't have to bite on any of it:-)
All For Now,