When a conflict in the workplace occurs, many people believe they can’t say or do anything to fix it. Whatever happens is always someone else’s problem (or fault), and if they just lay low they can escape any repercussions.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Everyone in the organization can and should take ownership of situations – not just the managers or leaders. Turning a blind eye to things or hoping for situations to resolve on their own will only lead to frustration. Here’s how to handle both internal and external negative situations and turn them around to reduce conflict in the workplace.
An internal situation could be a co-worker who is continually negative and always dragging the team down. Or it could be someone who is lazy and not pulling his or her weight with the team. Unfortunately, most people think dealing with such internal situations is the manager’s job only. But in fact, anyone can take steps to address such issues.
Simply saying something like, “I know things are tight here right now. That’s why we all have to pull together and stay focused,” can help diffuse someone’s negativity. Granted, you can’t expect to step in and be the super-hero who saves the company from negative people, but you can have courage to step up and state the facts in a Direct with Respect® way.
Some people are so used to negative people or a destructive culture that they don’t want to risk turning negativity around. But it’s a risk you have to take. If you don’t – if you chicken out – you’ll pay the price later.
The customer receives the wrong product…the client’s project is behind schedule and over budget…the local newspaper has printed some less-than-flattering information about your company. These are all examples of negative external situation.
During such times, it’s easy for people to play the “blame game.” They waste so much time finger-pointing and trying to discover the cause of the problem that they forget the real task at hand – to turn things around.
Whatever happened has happened. You can’t go back in time and change things. So stop focusing on the past. Now is when you – even if you’re not the leader – need to step up, take ownership, and decide to fix the situation – or at least get the company headed in the right direction. So what if it’s not your job. You’re a part of the team, which means you have a stake in the outcome. Therefore, do something now.
Small Steps Yield Big Results
In the end, whether the situation taking place is internal or external, you must have the courage to take action. You can’t wait for someone else to always take the lead. So commit to a decision and an action plan. Stay accountable for delivering against or acting upon that plan. And then focus on doing what’s best for the team – that’s the only way you’ll achieve the results you want.
© Joyce Weiss Training & Development LLC
Joyce Weiss is an accountability coach and conflict resolution consultant. She helps her clients improve their working condition by resolving conflict and interpersonal issues. She is the author of Take the Ride of Your Life!, Communicate with Impact, and Full Speed Ahead.
Check out the FREE Video Series – “20 Tips to Reduce Conflict in the Workplace” and The BOLD Solutions Newsletter at http://www.JoyceWeiss.com.
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