Perhaps you can relate to my story. I remember coming home feeling very happy and energized after leaving work one afternoon. What initially started out as a bad day ended up a resounding success. I remember the long walk to the boss’s office, the sound of my worn-out boots squeaking with each step, and the rising sun blinding me as it came over the Oakland hills. Today was the day a major change was coming. I had heard rumors circulating for months and I was nervous. Nervous because the future was about as clear as mud, nervous because I was unsure of how I would be affected, but most of all I was nervous because I did not know how I was going to spin the change to my team. This nervousness had me ready to fight as I made the long walk that morning. I was ready to fight because of the lack of clarity and uncertainty given the rumors that had been swirling for months.
Lack of communication is the root of one major source of conflict in any organization, and while most leaders know and understand this, it has become increasingly difficult to change in recent years. In my experience, while the other sources of conflict are important to identify, none of them can kill a team quicker than a lack of communication. It wasn’t until I received intensive management training that I began to communicate in a way that inspired others to embrace change.
So, what made this seemingly dreadful day so great? When I walked into the office I was asked to sit down. I immediately thought “oh crud, what now?” As I was sitting down I realized my desire to fight disappeared, but why? It was simple; my boss communicated everything I needed to hear. After this conversation the future was crystal clear, my role was explained in detail, including how my strengths were going to be used to implement the change, and finally because I was bought in, I no longer had to spin the truth to my team; rather, I could just do the same for them – communicate everything they need to hear. I left the office energized and happy, and those emotions carried me home on cloud nine.
Conflict can pop up at any time. What matters most is how you respond and recognize that not all conflict is bad. Change can be difficult; a lack of communication can be detrimental. The lesson I learned here was that just because I was angry did not mean that there had to be conflict. Identifying the core issue was key to remaining calm as I walked through the door and sat down.
What are the major sources of conflict in your organization? How do you/have you responded? What is your solution for change and how can you communicate it? Send us a response, we would like to know.
The Personnel Perspective is a full-service HR management consulting firm specializing in leadership and management training and development, human resources, consulting, and recruiting. Dedicated to serving those in Santa Rosa and the greater Sonoma County area, the firm’s core belief is that a company achieves organizational excellence through its people. Contact us to learn more: (707)576-7653.