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February 6, 2014

Conflict Management : Keeping the Conversation Going

A lot of team building is getting all the team members to play nicely in the sand box together. We do a lot of Personal Development classes that end up being Conflict Management sessions. I am surprised how often I have to say, “name calling is NOT allowed”.

There is a great book written called The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton. The main idea of this book is that bullying behavior at work actually worsens both morale and productivity. And in order to lessen the effects of toxic people in the workplace, some companies have instituted the no asshole rule. Basically some people are just that and the word jerk or bully doesn’t have the same power. Get rid of them; they are like rotten apples and one bad apple will ruin the whole bushel.

I have a poor memory for bad situations, but I never remember calling someone an ass at work. I might have called them an ass behind their back or in my head. I also don’t ever recall saying to someone’s face, “It is none of your business!” Although it is possible I did at some point. When emotions are high, conflict arises and people say things they don’t mean. If you find this happening you might also want to read Crucial Conversations : Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. This book speaks to how communication stops when emotions rise. It discusses effectively talking about anything safely and how to transform anger and hurt feelings into an open dialogue.

With these two books you will be have the tools at your disposal to handle most workplace conflict and keep your emotions under control at the office.



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