The workplace is under pressure these days. Many people are feeling extra stress as they are confused, dismayed, frustrated, maybe even hurt or frightened. This extra stress can lead to conflict in the workplace, but it doesn’t have to. Often thought of as negative, conflict can lead to constructive change.

Understanding what I call “Chair 2” (the other guy) is key. Before jumping to any conclusions as tension rises, ask yourself the following questions—

  • What are her/his* needs in this situation? Does (s)he need more information or resources to be successful? Or, is it on the emotional level as a need for a feeling of safety, or more control?
  • Is her/his work and style different than mine? Is (s)he more reactive or proactive? Does (s)he enjoy risk or tranquility? Is (s)he performing a function outside of her/his job requirements or expertise?
  • What are her/his expectations and perceptions of this situation? What does (s)he expect to happen? What does (s)he want to happen?  In what ways may (s)he perceive what is happening? Does (s)he feel respected and valued? Does (s)he need latitude or rules?
  • What are some possible outcomes (s)he wants from this conflict? What would be the best resolution for her/him? Does (s)he view the situation as win-win or a lose-lose? Has (s)he placed her/himself in the role of victim or a “have-not?”
  • Are other conflicts affecting this one? It may be conflicts of time, scheduling, money, resources, company policies even personalities or different personal values.
  • Is this a power struggle? Most of us have experienced situations where associates have wielded their power in inappropriate ways. Is this situation a power struggle for territory, resources, attention… Power struggles often cause intentional or unintentional aggressive or passive-aggressive (sabotage) behavior.

As with so many things, it is in how we perceive what is happening that determines the outcome. The more information and “views” we can acknowledge, the better the resolution will be for all.

As you identify what caused the conflict, it is easier to choose the best strategy to move towards resolution.

Have a great day in whatever your adventure

To Success! To Life!