Work place conflict, a common problem solved

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Work place conflict, a common problem solved

Getting On The Same Page In Conflict

Sarah and John have worked together for several years in a government department, and for the most part they have worked well together.   John, a stickler for following process, and making fact based decisions struggles with indecisiveness.  Sarah is a big picture thinker and has been known to make decisions based on emotion.

At a recent team meeting, Sarah and John disagreed on how a joint project would be handled. It was clear they were both passionate about the project, and appreciated what they each brought to the table, however, in discussing the action plan their voices raised and the conversation became somewhat adversarial.

Instead of focussing on solutions, and what they did agree on, they focussed on differences. The more they focussed on differences, the more polarized the conversation.  They began to bring up the past, unrelated frustrations and blame. Ending their conversation abruptly, they agreed to meet the following day.

Here are a few things Sarah and John did to prepare for their next meeting and get on the same page:

  1. Removed judgement, blame and assumptions from their internal conversations. Whatever thoughts they entertain before their meeting will shape how they communicate, how they respond, and ultimately will impact the outcome.
  2. Considered where they already agree. Starting from a place of agreement sets a more collaborative environment.
  3. Thought about how to frame their ideas and conversation points clearly and respectfully.
  4. Committed to talking about the issue instead of trying to get their colleague to buy into their own point of view.
  5. Wrote down the points they wanted to cover and practiced saying the points out loud. This removed the drama and emotion.