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By Elizabeth Dukes
We have all been there at some point in our careers–that awkward moment when a heated discussion turns into more than just a discussion. Where you could cut the tension in the room with a knife or feel you need to duck to escape the looks being shot across the room. But conflict among colleagues does not have to create dissension; it can be turned into a positive.
Conflict indicates passion, a love for the topic at hand. Careful consideration and communication in the midst of conflict can get the creative juices flowing. New ideas can be formed and relationships strengthened. After all, who doesn’t feel pride when their ideas are turned into successes?
Here are seven solutions for turning the next conflict from a negative into a positive.
- Strength–As a team member, one of your jobs is to look at all sides objectively. While you may feel strongly about the subject at hand, be mindful of the fact that the rest of your colleagues do as well. Consider all points being discussed before taking a stand. Not only might you stumble upon an aspect you might never have thought of, you will also show the team you are willing to listen.
- Zeal–In theory, we are to leave emotions at the door. But as human beings, this theory is often impossible to abide by, especially when one cares deeply about their work. Be mindful of this, always considering that there are feelings and emotions involved. Respecting others and what they stand for will gain you respect as well as show that your choice as a leader to “lead by example”.
- Allure–Consider that age-old adage “There are three sides to every story.” While you are not looking to “take sides,” you are searching for a solution that ultimately benefits everyone. Ask questions so you are sure to understand the underlying issues.
- Honor–It is human nature to respond to recognition positively. By verbally recognizing all contributions, you reinforce the importance of all teammates, encouraging continued participation in not only this discussion but future events as well.
- Alarm–They say that “knowledge is power.” By organizing your thoughts in advance, you not only minimize the risk of unproductive conflict, but will be armed with the tools to handle conflict should it arise.
- Rebellion–While examining all sides, think outside the box and propose a new solution to the conflict at hand. Contrive a solution that ultimately brings the team together!
- Trust–Focus on TEAM, rather than ME, nurturing the relationships among colleagues. All relationships are built on trust and without it, there is no team. Set aside time for team-building exercises or light conversation, so that teammates are able to get to know each other on another level.
While conflict in the workplace is clearly not encouraged, the right approach can turn the negative into a positive.
“This positive energy gets the creative juices flowing, often generating some of the best concepts.”
So next time you encounter dissension, be prepared to be a positive force and surprise everyone with the accomplishments that arise. If you need a little inspiration, check out our post on Inspirational Quotes for FMs.
Dukes is co-author of Wide Open Workspace and co-founder of iOffice, a provider of facility management software and consulting services. For more articles on conflict resolution, click this link.
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