Avoiding conflict at work isn’t always easy, but getting through the conflict is actually the only solution. Conflict gives us the opportunity to show who we are in the face of adversity.
As in any relationship, truly liking your job makes resolving the conflict that much easier. The reason you go to work every day has to be more than simply collecting a paycheck. This is true, whether you are staff or management.
Accountability will solve conflict sooner rather than later. Instead of passing the buck of blame, hold yourself accountable for your actions in a situation. Let go of “having to be right” and look at the bigger picture.
The 5 Whys is a Lean Six Sigma tool that can be very useful in resolving conflict; just keep asking why said conflict happened. Here is an example:
Every morning a co-worker is late in starting their job, which makes his partner have to do more work.
1. Why do you start work late? Because I have to check my emails first.
2. Why do you have to check your emails first? Because it is protocol.
3. Why do you think taking a long time is following protocol? Because I read slowly to get it right.
4. Why do you think slow means getting it right? Because when I do it fast, others only notice if I make a mistake.
5. Why do you feel that you will only get noticed for making a mistake? Because nobody notices anything good I do, only the mistakes.
6. Why do you feel that people only notice mistakes you make? Because nobody ever praises me, but they praise other team members.
The 5 Whys revealed an underappreciated staff member who just wanted to be part of the team. This was the underlying reason as to why he began underperforming and creating conflict.
Baseline data is important to have so that one can establish when issues first started or if they were always a problem waiting to be corrected. In fact, baseline data should always be taken in all work-related processes as well as work partnerships where co-workers must work as a team in order to get tasks done.
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