Disagreement in the workplace is inevitable, particularly when you are passionate about what you do. Add in generational differences and discord can become all but certain. But here’s the thing: Conflict needs to be respectful. Always. Losing your temper or being overly stubborn can mar your professional image. Mastering the art of healthy debate and conflict resolution is essential to succeeding in today’s multigenerational organizations.
I found some articles that look at best practices in conflict resolution and how you can help move your team to win-win outcomes.
Learning a Colleague’s Style Can Give You an Edge
“It’s not always advisable to come out and ask: ‘How do you like to address conflict?’ That can be awkward — and few people will be prepared to answer the question. Instead, share your own preferences as a way to start the conversation: ‘You might have noticed that I don’t shy away from arguments, and don’t like to beat around the bush.’ You could also share tactful observations about what you’ve noticed about your counterpart. ‘Based on how you responded to Corinne’s questioning in this morning’s meeting, it seems as if you prefer to steer away from conflict. Is that right?’” — Read more at Harvard Business Review.
Seek More Information Before Jumping In
“Leaders…don’t shy away from difficult conversations. Sometimes we need to let someone know — an employee or client — that there’s a problem. Before jumping to conclusions, though, be sure to ask questions and really listen to the answers. Your perception of the situation could change with more information. In any case, treat the other person with respect and move quickly to solutions and next steps. The goal of tough conversations should be positive resolution.” — Read more at Business Journals.com
Don’t Allow Workplace Conflict to Build Up and Fester
“Ask your team for their frequent, healthy feedback … Allowing unpleasant truths to trickle out gradually fosters a sense of camaraderie and understanding within your organization, in turn reducing the risk of future conflict. What’s more, creating honest dialogue lets your employees know their opinions are valued, raising their level of engagement. Finally, when confrontations do arise, they will feel far more inclined to receive your concerns with an open mind and an appreciation of your opinion instead of reflexively thinking the sky is falling.” — Read more at Forbes.com.
Walk in the Other Person’s Shoes
“When dealing with conflict at work, remember that people tend to view conflicts quite differently, based on their individual perspective. Our perceptions of what went wrong tend to be self-serving. With each person believing he or she is ‘right’ and the other person is ‘wrong,’ it’s no wonder conflicts often fester in organizations. For this reason, it’s crucial to start off your workplace conflict resolution efforts by taking a joint problem-solving approach. Ask open-ended questions and test your assumptions.” — Read more at Harvard.edu.
What experiences — good or bad — have you had with conflict resolution in your workplace? I’d love to hear on Twitter or in the comments below.
Lindsey Pollak is the leading expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, and the world’s top media outlets. A New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her presentations have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.