We are often contacted about helping organizations with resolving conflict.  Sometimes the conflict has gone on for months and months and it can have far-reaching, negative consequences.

We have been helping leaders work through conflict in the workplace for many years. Recently as I was wrapping up a conflict mediation session the clients asked me how I got into this job. My short answer was “I failed miserably at it for years, until I realized that confronting conflict to reach resolution and harmony in the workplace was a much better solution.” Often, we are called upon to provide tools on what TO do. In this article I am going to review WHAT NOT TO DO.

In my journeyman days I was in charge of my own operation. From start to finish, I was the key to the entire facility. This was not an easy task for a 23-year old; but I was determined to succeed. And I did in many ways. I renovated the facility, changed processes and procedures, and generally enhanced morale through my efforts. But it came at a cost. My stress level was through the roof.  And work-life balance?? What was that? And professional relationships were strained. Of course, I couldn’t see all of this, it was just operations normal for me.

Perhaps you can relate. You go to work every day, do the best you can, and over time or during stressful times you start becoming short with peers, managers, and direct reports. For me, it all came to a head one day when one of my peers made a joke that sent my pot from simmer to boil. I will spare you the details, but let’s say, people could hear the yelling from 100 yards away. I ripped this person apart in every way conceivable, and I left that situation physically and emotionally drained.

That evening I was reflecting on the “conversation” and here is what I came away with: (1) maintain your cool. Take a break if you are triggered; communicate that you are upset but cannot talk about it at that moment and then walk away. (2) Communicate what you are experiencing and how it is affecting you. (3) Seek to preserve the relationship. Whatever your expectations are in the relationship, they must be at a baseline respectful and professional. You don’t have to be best friends, but you do have to be respectful and professional.

As you read in my story in the next blog, you will discover that I failed in all three of these. While they seem so simple to me now 23 years later, it is important to get back to basics sometimes. There are many ways to resolve conflict in the workplace. One of the main reasons people avoid talking conflict through and trying to resolve it is because they do not know how the other person will respond. We will talk about that in our next blog.

The Personnel Perspective is a management consulting firm specializing in human resources and leadership training and development. The firm’s core belief is that a company achieves organizational excellence through its people. To learn more about conflict resolution strategies Napa County, contact us at (707) 576-7653. Whether addressing long-standing disputes or emerging tensions, our approach ensures lasting solutions that foster collaboration and boost productivity for both individuals and organizations.