Managing Conflict in the Workplace – Conflict at work is a massive draw on resources for everyone involved, especially the roller coaster of emotions which are involved with the people who are at odds with each-other. Usually when people cannot resolve their issues we look to HR to invervene with facilitation, raise grievences and complain extensively about what the other person isn’t doing.
I was working for a plc recently where two people in particular were having regular clashes and conflict at work to the to point of their tension and behaviours effecting the teams around them. I was asked to faciliate 1:1 coaching conversations with them and bring the two individuals together to establish if we indeed could move forward.
Both people held responsible senior management positions and outsiders looking in easily said “just sort it out” But it needed so much more than a “process head deciding statement!” “Sorting it out” required gut-feeling stuff that allowed the person to connect to what was going on with themselves first.
It was only until I took the time to work with each person that allowed me to get to the heart of what was really happening.
Recently the organisation had made changes to whom and where the budget for each department was held, people and roles changed across the two departments. The two managers were asked to make changes with budgets and people. There was little engagement with these decisions and changes for both managers. Decisions were taken at board level and filtered through to the various levels. So what was really going on for these two?
The conflict at work arose internally (covert) first where the individual had experienced their values had been crossed, where their emotions were high on the basis that their responsibilities and some accountabilities had been stripped away. This deep personal internal conflict then manifested itself into external behaviours with the use of aggressive language, unreasonable demands, tell-directive styles and lack of engagement with other members of the cross-functional team. And the snow ball kept rolling, getting bigger and bigger.
Both individuals were not satisfying their core values at work and this resulted in an onslaught of conflict at work with their beahviours.
As coach, it was imperative that I focussed on their emotions, feelings and expressions in a mindful way to really draw out all of their metaphorical descriptions of how they are feeling right now. Internal and external conflict at work happens when boundaries are crossed, especially in the area of core values & beliefs. The two managers were gracious, humble and became so much more aware of the “stuff” that was going on inside. Following a few sessions they were able to pin-point behavioural changes they wanted to make, as indeed they took on the belief that “transformational change starts with me first”
Conflict at work is no more, long gone, dead and buried between these two amazing capable leaders!
It is refreshing to see that they are engaging, inclusive, open, collaborative, sharing ideas, non-comabative, creating new grooves for others to follow, appreciating each-others’ strengths and now co-coaching each-other. Communication is open for business!
If you would like to join us for our open programmes on communciation and conflict at work please visit open programmes page http://www.pro-tential.co.uk/conflict.html
Or perhaps you would like to discuss a tailored approach for your people linking into your behavioural objectives and goals for development.
Phone us 0843 2891639 or email info(at)pro-tential.co.uk
Food for Thought
Clarify what is most important to you – personally and to your organisation.
1.Review your values and identify your top 5 non-negotiable core values, the examples of when you live these values and examples of how you don’t live these values and can do better. When you are living and working in harmony with your core values, you are more energised, motivated and effective. When your values are conflicted, you tend to become more stressed and disillusioned.
2. Review all the possibilities you have on your plate at the moment. Identify your top 3 priorities that align with your values, your strengths and your personal motivators. It is worth doing this for both your personal and your work contexts – ensuring work priorities also align with your role and organisational priorities.