By: Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, ND
As long as people decide to work together there will be disagreements. This is an inevitable truth, and can be a costly one. A 2008 British report found that poorly managed conflicts in the workplace cost British employers more than £24 billion a year. But this isn’t the only option. Creative tension can also be used as fuel and can lead to breakthrough and innovation. Your team’s performance + productivity depends on the conflict mindset you promote. Here are two conflict resolution strategies that can help you + your team do better, by thinking better.
Self-Awareness + Accountability
In conflict, a natural tendency for most people is to enter the “blame game.” The attraction to this type of thinking is that it takes all the responsibility off of our own shoulders and places it squarely on everyone else’s. This is a telling sign that our mindfulness muscles are in need of a tune-up! Casting blame is the easiest and quickest way to make ourselves temporarily feel better, but it has an extremely negative impact on the psychology of the team and your own long-term performance. This type of behaviour often leads to fear and tension within your group, and inhibits your potential for growth. Investing in and strengthening your self-awareness + personal accountability muscles is a foundational step for sustainable conflict resolution. It starts with you + your mindset.
Replay a past conflict and ask yourself:
- Which behaviours was I most proud of?
- Which behaviours could I improve on?
- Do I have an automatic or predominant thought pattern during conflicts? Examples: “Everyone is stealing my ideas” “Why am I always being blamed?” “I’m doing all the work?” “They are out to get me” “I tend to screw everything up, it must be my fault!” etc…
- What are some ways I can MINDSHIFT that narrative? Is there another perspective I can explore?
Be a Leader!
We all have the ability to be a leader. We describe leadership as a mindset — a way of being, and a way of living. It’s in how you conduct yourself and communicate with others. Applying your leadership mindset in a conflict situation means being able to apply the first strategy while also respecting the fundamental truth that we are all wired to connect. This means, as a leader, you understand that to optimize your team’s performance + productivity opportunities for collaboration and acknowledgement must be created. Take your team building to the next level.
Be a leader at your next meeting:
- Acknowledge your teammate’s contributions
- Find common space to grow your ideas and opinions together
- Repeat and clarify to ensure you are fully understanding your teammates points of view
Prepare your team to work through conflict by making sure the above strategies are part of your work culture. It may not come naturally at first. But the more you stick with it, the more you and your team will have the right mindset to resolve conflict, grow together, and do better by thinking better.