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Why People Avoid Conflict Resolution

Posted by Naro on November 12th, 2007

Practicing personal courage is necessary if you want to really resolve conflicts at work. It is much easier and much safer to ignore the necessary conflict and play ostrich. Unfortunately, unresolved conflict tends to escalate. It never really disappears because it simmers just below the surface. Think of water that is coming to a boil. It burbles up in the pot sporadically and then finally reaches the boiling temperature. At that point, a full blown rolling, constant boiling is seen on the surface of the water.

Conflict behaves similarly. The water may seem calm, but every once in awhile, usually at the worst possible times, the conflict burbles up to the surface once again. Unresolved conflict does not go away; unresolved conflict can turn into a full boil at any time.

They feel threatened by conflict resolution because they may not get what they want if the other party gets what they want. Even in the best circumstances, conflict resolution is uncomfortable because people are usually unskilled at conflict resolution. Finally, people can get hurt in a conflict and, at work, they are still expected to work together effectively every day.

The Benefits of Conflict Resolution

This century’s workplace makes conflict resolution more important, but also, more difficult. Team or work cell environments create more conflict as people with different opinions must choose to work together, often in close quarters.

Empowering work environments, in which the traditional reliance on a manager to solve conflicts and make decisions, bring coworkers into more frequent conflict, as they must work issues out for themselves. Conflict resolution also:

  • Causes people to listen to and consider different ideas.
  • Enables people to increase their alternatives and potential paths.
  • Results in increased participation and more ownership of and commitment to the decisions and goals of the group or person.

The goal of the people or the team is not to eliminate conflict but to learn how to manage conflict constructively.

These conflict resolution steps will help you reach this goal.

Conflict Resolution Steps

You’ve decided resolving the conflict is more important than all of the reasons why people avoid conflict. Here are tips to help you practice less scary, less intimidating, more effective and successful conflict resolution, with an individual or a team.

  • Create an environment that is conducive to successful conflict resolution. Quiet, private settings work the best. Agree prior to sitting down together that the purpose of the meeting is to resolve the conflict. When you make this agreement, all parties arrive prepared.

  • Determine what outcomes you’d like to see as a result of the discussion. A better working relationship? A better solution to the problem? Increased alternatives for successful projects? A broadened understanding of each person’s needs and wants? Thoughtful solutions and outcomes are infinite if you are creative.

  • Begin by allowing each party to express their point of view.

  • The purpose of the exchange is to make sure both parties clearly understand the viewpoint of the other. Make sure each party ties their opinions to real performance data and other facts, where possible. This is not the time to discuss; it is the time to ask questions, clarify points for better understanding and truly hear the other’s viewpoint.

  • Agree on the difference in the points of view. You must agree on the problem together to begin to search for a solution. Often problems are simply misunderstandings. Clarification can end the need for conflict resolution. Try to focus on the issues, not the personalities of the participants. Don’t “you” each other as in, “You always …”

  • Explore and discuss potential solutions and alternatives. Try to focus on both your individual needs and wants and those of the other party. After all, if one party “wins,” that means the other party “loses.” People who feel as if they have lost, are not effective coworkers. They harbor resentment and may even sabotage your project or relationship. Make sure you discuss the positive and negative possibilities of each suggestion, before you reject any suggested solutions. Build a discussion that is positive and powerful for all parties.

  • Agree on a plan that meets the needs of all parties and the organization. Agree on followup steps, as necessary, to make the plan work. Agree on what each person will do to solve the conflict. Set clear goals and know how you will measure success.

  • Do what you agreed to do.

With more experience in conflict resolution, you will grow more comfortable with conflict resolution. That’s a positive outcome for the workplace. It will foster idea generation, help people get along, minimize negative behaviors and promote the success of all in placing their attention where it belongs – on the customer.

Many people are afraid of conflict resolution.

Motivation on money?

Posted by Naro on September 15th, 2007

We’ve all found ourselves in need of more money; to pay bills, to buy clothes, or just for fuel to get back and forth to work. But what if you could always have the money you needed, simply through the use of a motivation quote? Impossible, you say?

It is a well proven fact that the power of the mind can affect your physical health, your mental health, and even your surroundings. So why wouldn’t you be able to train your mind to produce much needed money o­n demand?

No, I’m not talking about being able to think about money, and then spit out a few twenty dollar bills (although that’d be nice, don’t you think?). What I’m talking about is using the power of a motivation quote to help yourself see money making opportunities all around you. Anyone with a little bit of imagination, and a lot of ambition, can turn ordinary, every day tasks into an opportunity to make money if they o­nly try.

Money Isn’t Everything…

Rita Davenport, a respected motivational speaker, o­nce said, “Money isn’t everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen.” And, oh, how true that is. Understanding, first and foremost, that money is a necessity that we cannot live without, is the first step to being able to train our minds to find ways to produce money o­n demand. The second step is to find a motivation quote that will inspire you to look around you and identify all of the different ways you could be making money.

There are any number of ways to make extra cash, if o­ne o­nly takes the time and initiative to look around. Do you have any elderly neighbors who might be willing to pay you run errands, do yard work, or even clean their homes? What about the young mother in need of affordable child care? Offering your services to her at a much lower price than the going rate would be a wonderful way to make some extra money. Want to do your community a service? Find a motivation quote that inspires you to help others, and you’ll soon find yourself discovering a way to help others, as well as get paid.

Too often we tell ourselves that there is no way out of a desperate financial situation; but giving up too easily may be the very thing that got us into that spot to begin with. Use a motivation quote to convince yourself to find a way to succeed, and you may find your financial troubles disappearing in it’s wake!

What brings you great joy in the workplace?

Posted by Naro on September 15th, 2007

What brings you great joy in the workplace? I know what brings me joy. Perhaps we share meaning about joyful events and circumstances? I trust that in sharing mine, I remind you of yours. It’s easy to get so bogged down in the day-to-day busy that we forget to cherish the best moments, those moments that provide the motivation necessary for continued contribution. What motivates the motivators? Here are mine.

I feel joyful when:

  • I watch people grow and develop in their decision making and competence through coaching, classes and experience
  • managers, clients and even the Top Management and my subordinates seek advice,sharing,counsel and trust my wisdom and experience to provide confident direction
  • I hear another person’s peal of laughter; I know we have staff members who feel joy at work, too,
  • I watch our staff greet every stranger with pleasure; temps and guests tell me they feel welcomed in our organization
  • a selected job candidate accepts our offer with little negotiation and obvious joy; the candidates not selected cry and send followup notes for months
  • we find four or five candidates we’d love to hire, who respond to our advertising of an open position
  • the team pulls together and we set sales records for the month
  • people ask intelligent questions at the company meetings and are genuinely interested in the response
  • I walk through the company and people greet me with a smile at every turn; only a few have questions or complaints
  • I accomplish a task or project that will actually result in progress for the company
  • I counsel staff members about returning to school or pursuing training and degrees, or certification
  • I watch a staff member perform with confidence in a situation that would have stumped her in earlier days
  • people form friendships that assist the organization and add to their work motivation
  • a staff member leaves our organization for a genuinely better opportunity
  • we accomplish our business goals on time, and
  • I am privileged to work with other people who appear to experience great joy at work, too.
  • Motivation and joy are all around you if you take the time to get in touch with the events and circumstances that bring you joy.

    Feel the Joy?

    How to Create Enthusiasm in Other People

    Posted by Naro on September 15th, 2007

    Inspiring other people can be hard and exasperating. You will discover that there are many people who can easily be inspired but there are others who require additional support. You can inspire them by having frank discussions and by providing them with the help that they require to strive for bigger and better things. When it comes to having frank exchanges you need to have an open mind. You must have the ability to listen. Not only do you need to listen to what others have to say but you also need to be able to understand what they are trying to tell you.

    If you have a good rapport, irrespective of whether it is with friends or family, you will discover that your relationship will become stronger if you have the ability to comprehend each other. Once you have joint admiration and appreciation you will have the ability to inspire each other. You will also want to consider how you actually correspond with the person. You will have to be both straight-up and encouraging. You will also have to consider exactly what it is that you want to express to that person. If you choose your words carefully before you begin to talk, then your meaning will be a lot clearer.

    The first step that you must take to be able to inspire another is to ensure that you are on their level. This means that you have to understand where they are coming from. Then you need to tell them how you feel about them. You need to make it clear why you want them to be more motivated. Once you are able to put this into words then you will be able to have a mutual understanding. When you are able to have this discussion you can start to offer your guidance.

    You will have to prove that you are going to be there for them, regardless of what happens. You’ll need to demonstrate your support. When they become interested in something you have to provide them with your support and encouragement. You don’t want to get in the way of their enthusiasm or hold them back. To inspire someone does not mean that you dictate what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. When you support someone you provide them with a basic suggestion and let them take control.

    If you are trying to create inspiration in other people you will discover that there are some techniques that you need to possess to be able to get your message across clearly. You have to be a good communicator. This means that you have the ability to listen to, and comprehend, what another person is saying. You don’t jump to conclusions, but wait until it is their turn to talk. Apart from being a good communicator, you also need have a lot of patience. You must allow the other person to tell you all that they want to and then select what you are going to say carefully.

    It is not the time to become angry or lose your temper and you need to be objective in your outlook and be careful not to hurt the other person’s feelings.

    There are many people who have difficulty in motivating others. You may discover that it is testing trying to have a discussion with a person, but if are patient when you are expressing your opinions then you should have the ability to inspire him or her and strengthen your relationship in the process. You need to be careful when it comes to inspiration, or motivation. You might end up appearing domineering and biased in your opinion. If you select what you say carefully, you should have the ability of motivating others successfully. Motivation can create or destroy a relationship, but if you pursue it in a courteous manner you will discover that it helps strengthen your relationship.

    How to Make Values Live in Your Organization

    Posted by Naro on September 15th, 2007

    Values exist in every workplace. Your organization’s culture is partially the outward demonstration of the values currently existing in your workplace. The question you need to ask is whether these existing values are creating the workplace you desire.

    Do these values promote a culture of extraordinary customer care by happy, motivated, productive people? If not, you will want to:

    • identify the values that currently exist in your workplace;
    • determine if these are the right values for your workplace; and
    • change the actions and behaviors by which the values are demonstrated, if necessary.

    To really make a difference in your organization, you need to do all three.

    Within the organizations I have had the opportunity to serve, the core values were communicated by actions mostly – in the ways in which business is conducted on a day-to-day basis, and not so much in words directly spoken or written. “I am a strong advocate of demonstrated values more than written or spoken – actions speak louder, but also believe that written values that reinforce and support specific actions, and specific actions that reinforce and support written values, make a powerful combination that far exceeds one or the other by itself.  If it is written down and demonstrated in action, we can really hold our feet to the fire when we need to.”

    In a prior article, I discussed what values are, why you want to identify values, and where values fit within your workplaces. This article moves the process of identifying workplace values to the next step.

    Values Development Process

    My focus, in this article, is on how to develop and articulate shared workplace values. While the focus is on values identification and alignment, you can use this process to develop any product or course of action that needs widespread support, enrollment in, and ownership from your staff.

    Steps in a Values Identification Process

    To identify organization values, bring together your executive group to:

    • learn about and discuss the power of shared values;
    • obtain consensus that these leaders are committed to creating a value-based workplace;
    • define the role of the executives in leading this process; and
    • provide written material the executives can share with their reporting staff.

    In one of my client organizations, that recently completed this process, the Team Culture and Training Team, a cross-functional group of employees from every level of the organization, asked the executive group to initiate and lead this process.
    Where possible, acting on a desire for change that is percolating from all corners of an organization, is a powerful assurance of success.

    Design and schedule a series of values alignment sessions in which all members of the organization will participate. Schedule each member of the organization to attend a three-four hour session. (If your group is small, it is most effective for all members to meet in one session together.)

    These sessions are most effective when led by a trained facilitator. This allows each member of your organization to fully participate in the process. Alternatively, train internal facilitators who lead one session, and participate in another. Prior to the values identification and alignment sessions, each leader must do the following:-

    • Share any written materials as well as the spirit and context of the executives’ values discussion with every individual in your reporting group.

    • Promote the rationale for, need for, and desired organizational impact of the process.

    • Make certain your reporting staff members understand the importance of their participation in the process.

    • Assure that every member of your reporting group is signed up for and attends a session.

    • Answer questions and provide feedback about any staff concerns to the rest of the executive or cross-functional group leading the process.

    Values Identification Workshop Overview

    The facilitator begins the sessions with a brief overview, since the rationale and process have already been communicated by organization leaders. Key concepts include the following.

    • Each person brings his or her own set of values to the workplace.

    • Sharing similar or agreed upon values at work helps clarify:

    – expected behavior and actions to each other and customers,

    – how decisions are made, and

    – exactly what is important in the organization.

    Steps in Workplace Values Identification

    During the workplace values identification session, participants begin by identifying their own individual values. These are the five-ten most important values they hold as individuals and bring to the workplace every day. It is the melding of all of the values of the members of your workforce that creates your current work environment.

    I have found this process most effective when participants work from the list of possible values. People voluntarily post the values that each person has identified as their most important. Then, everyone in the session walks around to look at the various lists. This is a learning opportunity and can provide great insight into the beliefs and needs of coworkers. You can ask people to verbally talk about their list of values with another individual in a mutual sharing.

    Participants then work with a small group of people, from across the organization, to identify which of their personal values are the most important for creating the environment the group wants to “live in” at work. Participants in the small groups then prioritize these identified values into a list of five-six they most want to see expressed at work.
    When the small groups have completed their task, they share their prioritized lists with all session participants. Generally, some of the values appear on each small group list. In a larger organization, these prioritized lists are tallied across all sessions for frequency and meaning. In a small organization, in which everyone is participating simultaneously, prioritize and reach agreement on the most important values.

    Value Statements.

    During this session, or in an additional session, participants discuss how and whether these values are currently operational in your workplace. People then define each value by describing what they will see in behaviors and actions when the value is truly incorporated into the organization belief system and culture. The more graphic you can make these statements, the better for producing shared meaning. Several examples of these value statements follow.

    Integrity: We maintain credibility by making certain our actions always match our words.

    Respect: We respect each patient’s right to be involved, to the greatest extent possible or desired, in making informed decisions about his or her health and plan of care.

    Accountability: We accept personal responsibility to efficiently use organization resources, improve our systems, and help others improve their effectiveness.

    Now that you know how to identify workplace values and value statements read about how to finalize your values identification process, with examples of values, too. Make Your Workplace Values Process Successful.

    Follow-up Process for Workplace Values Identification

    Using the work and insights from each values identification session, volunteers from each session meet to:

    • reach consensus on the values;

    • develop value statements for each of the prioritized values; and

    • share the value statements with all staff for feedback and refinement.

    Staff will discuss the draft value statements during organization-wide meetings, where possible. The total group adopts the values by voting when the organization believes the value statements are complete.

    The Leaders’ Role Following the Workplace Values Process.
    Following the values identification and alignment sessions and agreement on the values, leaders, with staff, will:

    • communicate and discuss the mission and organizational values frequently with staff members;

    • establish organizational goals that are grounded in the identified values;

    • model personal work behaviors, decision making, contribution, and interpersonal interaction that reflect the values;

    • translate the values into expectations, priorities, and behaviors with colleagues, reporting staff, and self;

    • link participation in the adoption of the values and the behaviors that result, to regular performance feedback and the performance development process;

    • reward and recognize staff members whose actions and accomplishments reflect the values in action within the organization;

    • hire and promote individuals whose outlook and actions are congruent with these values; and

    • meet periodically to talk about how the group is doing via living the identified values.

    Make This Workplace Values Process Not Just Another Exercise
    In an article entitled the Value of Values Clarification – Just Stop That Navel Gazing, Robert Bacal, a Canadian writer and consultant, offers these cautions.

    • “Don’t oversell the process.

    • Always anchor, or relate the values expressed to real world problems.

    • Encourage people to identify examples where there is a gap between values, or beliefs, and behaviour.

    • Remember that you are not going to alter a person’s values and beliefs by talking about them. Values clarification exercises are, at best, an opportunity to share them, not change them.”

    I agree. If you want your investment in this workplace values identification and alignment process to make a difference in your organization, the leadership and individual follow-up is critical. The organization must commit to change and enhance work behaviors, actions, and interactions. Reward and recognition systems and performance management systems must support and reward new behaviors. Consequences must exist for behaviors that undermine the values agreed upon.

    If you can’t make this commitment, don’t even start the process. You’ll just create a group of cynical, unhappy people who feel misled and betrayed. They’ll be much less likely to jump on board for your next organizational initiative. And you know what? They’ll be right.

    Examples of Workplace Values

    These were developed by several of my clients. Human Resources Development office chose:-

    • Integrity
    • Belonging/Caring
    • Helping/Contributing
    • Inner Harmony, Peace of Mind
    • Personal Growth, Learning, and Self-Actualization
    • Achievement /Accomplishment
    • Financial Stability
    • Fun

    A University Student Health Center staff developed the acronym “I CARE” as a tool for remembering and expressing values. In the final document, each word is defined by a series of value statements which describe how the value is expressed in their workplace.

    • Integrity
    • Compassion
    • Accountability
    • Respect
    • Excellence

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