Sigh Very Loud and Simulate a Delivery: The Workish Guide to Dealing with Conflicts


Seriously, more conflict is exactly what your office needs

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Workish (not if best practice) by Sandy Marshall is FP Work’s take on workplace nonsense. We also take it seriously with real expert business advice. Today, the Workish Guide to Conflict Management

In today’s uncertain work environment, several truths exist. People work as a team. Teams encounter conflicts. Airlines still charge for in-flight Wi-Fi. But when working with groups, handling disputes within teams is just as important as solving business problems with the teams.

When everyone is busy at work, there is already enough to deal with and conflict resolution is easy to delay before starting the next Zoom. So whether you’re looking to jump in or dig in, here are some workish tactics for avoiding interpersonal collisions, followed by expert advice from a bestselling author on identifying and resolving conflict with teams.

False delivery

If you’re looking to avoid personality tensions in a video meeting, bluff a surprise food delivery, then “lose the connection” due to a technical failure. For example: “Folks: Love the debate on supply chain approvals. Sorry, I have to run: Uber Eats is coming from King’s Noodles to Queen. My device says the battery is low, so if we are disconnected, continue -…. ”


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Organize a tug of war

When enemies lock their antlers, settle the score with a duel (aggressive passive): still legal in Canada. that is to say: “Team: Everyone’s lined up except Dennis, who for some reason doesn’t like the logo. I challenge Dennis to a tug of war. Head to the correct side of Stanley Park once it stops raining. Can anyone take 10 cubits of threaded hemp and a pylon? ”

You just have to sigh very hard

To avoid controversy in team environments, silence is golden… but exhaling hard is platinum. When disagreements surface, express your objection non-verbally by huffing and puffing repeatedly. No words, just breathe … and if someone asks you if you’re okay, just say I was untilAccounting intervened …

And now for insights from a bestselling author and expert on managing conflict between teams: Workish spoke to Liane Davey (@LianeDavey), co-founder and director of 3COze Inc and best-selling author of NYT (You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done), and recently The Good Fight, who told us that when you work with teams, you need more conflict than you think.

Works :Why is conflict productive for teams?

Liana: Conflict is the process of optimizing between competing or incompatible wants, needs and demands. At the team level, conflict is important in resolving issues of fair distribution of work and managing interactions between people of different styles. On a personal level, conflict helps you stand up for your needs and minimize the resentment and stress you carry with you. In organizations conflict is necessary and when properly managed it can be extremely productive.


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Works :Can you explain the concept of “conflict debt”?

Liana: Conflict debt is the accumulation of issues that need to be highlighted and addressed in order for things to move forward, but instead are left unchallenged and unresolved. Conflict debts drive interest, as avoiding the original problem slows productivity, leaves risks unexposed, erodes trust between team members, forces ineffective workarounds, and allows resentment and dislocation. stress builds up to the point that it affects not only the people who are directly involved, but also their families.

Works :How can people have difficult conversations while building trust?

Liana: There are two secrets to having difficult conversations in a way that builds trust: 1) Listen really well. Listen to more than the facts and information a person shares: listen to (and monitor) the feelings and emotions associated with the problem, then dig into the values ​​and motivations at play for the individual. I always say, “Facts don’t solve disputes,” so if you only pay attention to the information someone is sharing, you’re not going to resolve the conflict.

2) Validate. By listening, validate the person: make them feel heard and understood. Say something to show you’re listening, then ask questions to really pinpoint the issues below the surface. Once you think you’ve found the core issues, tell the truth. When people hear you tell their truth before you tell yours, you have earned the right to share your point of view. Validating people is the secret to shifting a conversation from arguments as adversaries to problem-solving as allies.


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Works :What is your advice for avoiding conflicts and personal problems?

Liana: Don’t think that the conflict is about “you” and what you need or “them” and what they need. Try to keep the organizational conflict focused on your roles and the obligations you have in those roles. When you are aware of the different stakeholders and the different obligations between your roles, you realize that what is happening is productive tension (important and necessary to optimize competing demands) and not interpersonal friction.

Works :How do you know which fights to choose?

Liana: Choose to solve each problem that would otherwise end up becoming a conflict debt. It means you must have more conflicts than you think. People tell me that they believe in ‘choice of their battles’ which sounds good at first glance, but if you choose not to approach an issue openly, but instead hold a grudge and judge the person on it then it is not a good decision. If you breathe and realize that your grievance is about your own style or preferences, and that it’s not a legitimate problem for the other person to resolve AND you are not going to blame them, then it’s ripe and wise to let it go. Choose to solve problems that will not resolve themselves.

Works :How can teams develop healthy habits in the event of conflict?

Liana: Start by naming the productive tensions that are supposed to be present in your team. Explain how your roles have unique value, different stakeholders and an obligation to put different tensions on the discussions. Then practice listening: this includes requiring people to paraphrase what they have heard before adding their own comments. Start with a light conflict: add a little tension to the ideas, then gradually develop skills and tolerance to have bigger disagreements.

Sandy Marshall (@MarshallSandy) is a partner of Norman Howard and a Chicago Emmy nominated writer and producer.

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