Conflict and Growth for Business

With summer winding down, the time has come to move forward. An important component of work/life balance is reflection and reprioritization.

  • What worked while you were away and what didn’t?
  • How can you apply the lessons you learned moving into the fall?

Personally, I see many clients who are able to ask these questions but then proceed to shy away from the answers. This seems to be because what they find out tends to be “hot” topics in the workplace and they are ill equipped to resolve the issues at hand. In order to become a more efficient work environment, we must be prepared and even go so far as to welcome conflict. This will free up time and provide a greater work/life balance.

For example, I spent hours of my time filling in for several employees on vacation. Making up for my coworkers and employees overfilled my plate and consequently made me feel as though I was doing a “bang up” job.  The week went by— I worked and worked just to find out that I had been redoing everything that was already done! This reminded me an episode of Undercover Boss. I truly believed that I knew what went on behind the scenes without me!

When they returned, my coworkers and employees approached the situation defensively. The office was filled with tension and heated conversation. We decided to stop, regroup, and press rewind. I recognized that this confrontation was necessary in order for us to learn from our mistakes and move forward in our business. Here are some guidelines to help you in the process:

  • Remember fair rules of engagement.
  • Give everyone a chance to share his or her opinion.
  • Everyone is responsible for being attentive and showing they understand others position.
  • Everyone should acknowledge that they have room for learning and growth.
  • Welcome the heated discussion—when moderated, it provides opportunity to get closer and work more efficiently.
  • Address other’s actions—don’t criticize personalities or work styles.
  • Summarize the key points and what everyone can take away from the conflict.

The following day, it is important to address the situation so that there are no lingering feelings of resentment. Be sure to:

  • Thank everyone for taking the time, energy and effort to make the conflict productive.
  • Make it work!
  • Immediately apply what you have learned.
  • Laugh about the experience and agree to move on.

Conflict is a key and necessary ingredient that motivates us to learn, grow, and move forward—it keeps us on our toes.