Tag Archives: healthy conflict

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WORKPLACE GOSSIP, PART 2: BUILDING COMMUNITY

In our last blog post, we talked about the practice of gossip, and how poisonous it is. A lot of people think gossip is inevitable — a byproduct of human nature we can never be free of. I’m here to tell you that we can – and we must!

Why do people gossip? What’s at the root of the desire to spread negativity about other people?

Remember, we’ve said that there’s a very basic need every human has to have communication, community, and connection. Yet, where there are people, there’s conflict. If you hate to deal with conflict and you do everything to avoid it, you’ll end up with only superficial relationships. And that’s one of the foundations of gossip.

No Avoiding Conflict

If you want to be in healthy community and truly connect at a meaningful level with other people, you will have conflict. No way around it. Period. There will be times when we offend each other, when we miscommunicate, when we jump to conclusions, when we miss what the other person was trying to say.

When we have honest conversations to resolve those conflicts, we learn and grow from the experience of being challenged by another point of view. That is what makes us wiser and stronger as it helps grow our character. The way to PEACE is through truth. And peace-making is through resolving conflict, not avoiding it.

People involved in shallow, fake relationships are still trying to get their human need for connection and their desire to be heard met. Unfortunately, they feel the need to protect themselves, so they refuse to engage in authentically caring for others.

Calling into Community

When we listen to gossip, we allow these people to continue in their isolated world. We do not call them out of that lonely place into a community where they can be real, messy — and loved. We allow them to continue their pattern of negativity and unhappiness. Then we allow them to pollute our environment with their negativity and critical spirit.

You cannot have joy and criticism at the same time. So why would you trade in your joy card for this negativity? I don’t get it.

When I was in graduate school, I shared a house with four women. We agreed to some basic rules, but two really left their mark on me: 1) No gossip about fellow housemates, and 2) No listening to gossip.

That second rule kept me on the straight and narrow. I did not want to be called out by one of my friends and embarrassed because I was a gossip. I was willing to do the hard work of communicating, of working through the inevitable conflicts we faced, which deepened our relationships and led to peace and joy.

Anti-Gossip Policy

Please help me end gossip. I encourage all companies to adopt a policy to ensure that personal conflicts are being handled in a way that keeps people’s dignity and integrity in check. (Read my article on healthy conflict.) Equip your people with communication and conflict-resolution training.

I promise you, if you insist on a culture based on agreed-upon values and attract the right people to your organization, you can eliminate gossip in your workplace.

It is simple; it is just not easy!

Your Coach,

sig_shandel

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How to Thrive in the Face of Conflict

On a team, healthy conflict means initiating a controversial topic or bringing attention to an issue or situation that could be seen as controversial or disagreement. It is the act of passionately, with conviction, bringing your unique perspective or your “story” to the table in the spirit of teamwork, organizational health, and overall alignment.

It takes a lot of courage to engage in healthy conflict. You run the risk of being wrong, or of making someone else be acknowledged as wrong. That is where trust comes in — to ensure everyone is safe in telling their “story” and bringing their unique perspective to the team. There is no wrong, when the goal is to make the team right.

I hope you find the suggestions below helpful and when you face conflict (which you will), you and your team will thrive!

Your Coach,

sig_shandel

 

 

How to Thrive in the Face of Conflict
by Elise Mitchell – original article adapted

  1. Act quickly. Get to the heart of the issue as quickly as possible. Unresolved conflict will escalate and cause additional problems as it grows.
  2. Understand the situation. Speak directly to those involved, listen well, and pose clarifying questions to ensure you fully understand what’s going on.
  3. Keep it contained. Don’t allow others to get drawn into the negativity. Advise only those who are directly involved.
  4. Peel back the layers. Be sure every issue is on the table. Conflicts often have multiple layers, and their root cause could easily go unspoken.
  5. Stay engaged. Some peoples’ flight instincts kick in when things escalate. Don’t let this happen to you or your employees. Keep everyone engaged all the way through to the resolution.
  6. Find common ground. Focus primarily on what the involved parties have in common. This will lead to mutually beneficial resolutions.
  7. Move forward. Communicate what you expect going forward, and hold others accountable for these changes.
  8. Check in. Periodically assess the success of your solutions. Make adjustments as needed to ensure continued progress.

The idea of confronting and quelling conflict can be nerve-wracking to some leaders, but ignoring it or delaying its resolution will only make things worse. Rarely do these things work themselves out, and whatever solution you reach will undoubtedly improve your workplace and bottom line.
Like it or not, conflict resolution comes with your leadership role. Monitoring and addressing conflict as it arises will ensure a happy, present, and productive workforce for your company.

Contact us to see how the Shandel Group team can support YOUR team in pursuing healthy conflict.

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What Is Healthy Conflict??

Just say the word “conflict” and you can create conflict! Most people prefer to avoid conflict and shy away from it at any cost because it can be messy! However, relationships, both at work and at home, require conflict. And without healthy conflict, you will get neither the results nor the satisfaction you are looking for, professionally and personally.

First, Why Have Conflict?

Conflict, by definition, is created by opposing needs, values, or viewpoints. Everyone is human with shortcomings and blindspots. Thus there will always be beliefs, perceptions, opinions, and ideas that are in opposition.

Yet, any unit of people — a work team or a family — must learn how to resolve those conflicts. For a team to experience good healthy conflict, the foundation of trust must be laid. Trust is created first by understanding all the communication styles of the individual members. Then the team must implement systems and rhythms of communication within the organization.

All of that requires being able to tackle healthy conflict. If you want to be part of a high performing team, you must expect conflict to be a part of it.

I come from a family where certain members refuse to engage in conflict and have requested that I do not as well. Being outnumbered, I must pretend to be someone I am not to keep the “peace” — which is not really peace at all.

Relationships without trust, and thus conflict, are basically superficial, fear-driven and unsatisfying. Eventually, people who will not address conflict in a healthy way will find themselves inevitably engaged in unhealthy conflict: Back-biting, judging, gossiping, and controlling behavior.

Remember, conflict doesn’t go away. It comes out sideways in forms of rage, sickness, depression, and/or despondency. It destroys intimacy and ultimately all joy in life.

What Is Conflict that’s Healthy?

Patrick Lencioni shares in his book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, how teams that engage in healthy conflict know that the only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. They discuss and resolve issues more quickly and completely than others, and they emerge from heated debates with no residual feelings or collateral damage, but with an eagerness and readiness to take on the next important issue. (pp. 202 & 203.).

This also goes for your personal relationships as well. You can’t grow if you do not have conflict.

In my work, I use the concept of healthy conflict in two distinct ways which I will share below. Whenever I lead with the words, “I need to have healthy conflict with you,” what I am saying is, “Our relationship is important to me and I need to say some hard things that you may not agree with and that I am uncomfortable saying to you. I am taking a risk, but the end result and our working relationship is more valuable to me than the way I feel.”

Healthy Conflict in an Organization

Say you’re on a team. You were hired for your specific gifts and talents. Your bosses and teammates need to hear your thoughts and understand your viewpoint. While not everyone will have a vote, everyone should have a voice. If you don’t speak up about something, perhaps no one else will either.

On a team, healthy conflict means initiating a controversial topic or bringing attention to an issue or situation that could be seen as controversial or disagreement. It is the act of passionately with conviction bringing your unique perspective or your “story” to the table in the spirit of teamwork, organizational health, and overall alignment.

It takes a lot of courage to engage in healthy conflict. You run the risk of being wrong, or of making someone else be acknowledged as wrong. That is where trust comes in — to ensure everyone is safe in telling their “story” and bringing their unique perspective to the team. There is no wrong, when the goal is to make the team right.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody’s not thinking.”- General George S. Patton

Healthy Conflict in Personal Relationships

Healthy conflict in personal relationships requires that you address issues that stand in the way between you and the other person.

It’s especially important to use healthy conflict when someone has done something that hurt you and you can’t get past it. Perhaps their action started out small and you logically can see why they did what they did, yet the pain is there and an obstacle.

For best results, I suggest the “24-hour rule.” The reasons are, first, to let you hot heads cool down and make sure you have thought through the issue. Second, to make sure the quiet folks do not let it fester for weeks, thinking they will get over it in time. In reality, time and trust cover over a bunch of idiosyncrasies and quarks in other people, but if you can’t get over a specific issue quickly then address it.

The Value of Healthy Conflict

When you do humbly and thoughtfully initiate healthy conflict with someone who has offended you, what you are saying is, “I care more about the relationship than I do about my own personal comfort.”  Yes, it demands that you take a risk for the sake of the betterment of the relationship and often times for the sake of the other. We all have blind spots and if we do not have people speaking truth into our lives, how will we ever become better people who are happy, engaged and satisfied?

People are messy. You are messy. A large portion of the population does not think like you do. Trust requires vulnerability and the more open we make ourselves the more inevitable conflict we will have. The art is knowing how to stay present and resolve the conflict, because real people are not perfect. In fact, the way we grow in our emotional intelligence and self-awareness is to to have conflict with trusting people who are committed to our journey to become better…not perfect but better than when we met them.

Do you have a trusted team who will point out your blind spot? If so, thank them today.

Your Coach,

sig_shandel