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Category: Conflict Doctor answers your questions

Conflict management helps reduce stress

Question posed: A co-worker and I have jobs that rely on each other for success, yet we can’t seem to work together. We either trip over each other doing the same task, or think the other person is doing it and it falls undone between us. What needs to change? Answer: Let’s say you divvy up the tasks exactly fairly and make a detailed list of who does what and when. If the issue is “we can’t seem to work together” then a list, however detailed, won’t solve the problem. Here are some… Read more Conflict management helps reduce stress

TIPs to improve work relationships

Question posed: I knew my friend had up and down moods before we started a business, so we were clear about our roles. Our small business is now successful and very busy with just us two working; how do I handle those moods keeping me uncertain and distracted? Answer: The business is successful (congratulations) so moods turned into an issue when the work model changed from startup to growth. Uncertainty and change are stressful, which contributes to blame, interferes with productivity, and can make you both feel unappreciated. Here’s a… Read more TIPs to improve work relationships

Conflicts from confused roles and responsibilities

Question posed: Two people in the office had a disagreement about a work assignment, which is challenging for the office manager. How do they fix the communication break down between those two so the work flows seamlessly again? Answer: Sounds like there’s more than one conflict in your office. In my conflict analysis I’d include the two employees’ work issues, communication issues, supervision issues, and also any barriers the office manager perceives to supervising. Let’s  sort some of that:

Conflict management and storytelling

Question posed: When should I use conflict management and when is it okay to behave ‘normally’ and let go of conflict competence to experience real emotion, like anger. Answer: I rarely encourage stark ‘either-or’ thinking such as this, and the two choices offered (to either be conflict competent or have real emotions) don’t contain every option:

Blind Spot analysis

Question posed: This question during a talk I gave. One man in the audience said a lot of getting along was being friendly and polite. Thus, he usually greeted everyone, even strangers in cities he visited, and they almost always returned his greeting. This, he said, proved that everyone can contribute to better relationships. Then, the man posed this question to me: when I travel, do I greet people, such as those standing waiting for the elevator with me. Answer: I replied that I also greet strangers but might not in the scenario… Read more Blind Spot analysis

Apologies have a role in conflict management

Question posed: is it seemly for a manager to apologize to someone he supervises? Answer: It happens, as an intervention proceeds, that parties in conflict learn more about the other parties’ perspectives. Often, the result is that someone wants to apologize for behaviour that seemed reasonable at the time. Learning from the discussion in the mediation what the impact of that behaviour was on the other people, can put that behaviour into a whole new light. Has that happened in this case?