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Diffusing and managing workplace conflict


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Managing workplace conflict - by Robyn Gaspari, Director, Gaspari Consultants Pty Ltd

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Diffusing and managing workplace conflict

  1. 1. 1 Diffusing and Managing Workplace Conflict Presented by Robyn Gaspari P O Box 195 Chatswood 2057 Email:
  2. 2. Twelve Skills of Conflict 2 Resolution • Broadening Perspectives • Creative Response • Collaborative Win/Win Approach • Appropriate Assertiveness • Empathy • Cooperative Power • Managing Emotions • Willingness to Resolve • Mapping the Issue • Developing Options • Negotiation • Mediation
  3. 3. Communication definition • Communication is to do with • transferring UNDERSTANDING • FROM ONE PERON’S MIND 3 • TO SOMEONE ELSE’S • The process is about Building Rapport • Three essential elements for resolution • Language Place Timing
  4. 4. Hot headed or cool headed 4 • “Hot headed” • or • “Cool headed” • PPRROOBBLLEEMM SSOOLLVVIINNGG
  5. 5. Five Most Common approaches to Problem Solving • Habit and/or Choice • Hot headed-natural habits • Competitive-Win/Lose • Avoidance-Withdraw • Accommodating-Suppressing • Cool Headed-learned choices • Compromising-Based on fixed position of not losing/or not letting you win over me • Collaboration-Win/Win approach based on identifying real needs and concerns 5
  6. 6. Collaborative Approach— My needs and Your needs 6 Go Back to Needs • Remember - The Orange Story • Don’t jump to the obvious solutions • Examine needs to find the optimal solution • Partners NOT opponents
  7. 7. Keys to Open Communication • Focus on the issue not the person • Respond rather than react • Develop the art of asking appropriate questions • Identify early signs or clues of conflict • Make appointments—avoid ambushes • Be sensitive to, respect value cultural differences • Choose constructive not destructive outcomes 7
  8. 8. Communication Dynamics 8 Will you react? Will you respond ? OR
  9. 9. Effective Strategies 9 Take a deep breath Remember we have two ears and one mouth To gain a little time to recover our composure ask simple questions like…..“Could you give me a bit more information about that?” or “What makes you think it happened that way?” or “Let me understand where you are coming from?” or “Why do you think it would work that way?”
  10. 10. Communication Skills for Diffusing Workplace Conflict • Managing own emotions—responding not reacting to situations or individuals • Creating a safe environment by helping participants to manage their emotions • Listening skills and reframing negative language • Appropriate assertiveness • Asking questions • Being professionally detached—not emotionally attached • Aware of values, dangers of stereotyping,assumptions, transference 10
  11. 11. Identification of Current Feelings • Exploring OOuurr RReessppoonnssee ttoo CCoonnfflliicctt:: FFiivvee QQuueessttiioonnss –– FFiivvee GGooaallss 11 • DDoonn’’tt IInndduullggee!! • DDoonn’’tt DDeennyy!! • CCrreeaattee rriicchheerr rreellaattiioonnsshhiippss
  12. 12. Questions to assess feelings • FIVE QUESTIONS: When angry/hurt/frightened • Why am I feeling so angry/hurt/frightened? • What do I want to change? • What do I need in order to let go of this feeling? • Whose problem is this really? How much is mine? How much is the other person’s? • What is the “message” I infer from the situation? (eg he doesn’t like me, she doesn’t respect me) 12
  13. 13. Five Goals in Communicating 13 Emotions • Aim: • To avoid the desire to punish or blame • To improve the situation • To communicate our feelings appropriately • To improve the relationship and increase communication • To avoid repeating the same situation • If communicating my emotions is not appropriate, what other action can I take?
  14. 14. Steps to manage the process of helping another person manage their own emotions 14 They have some strong emotions (anger) Respond, Listen, Question, Reflect, Empathise, Name Emotion, Less Voice Intensity, Avoid Patronising They will correct wrongly named emotion, Voice level drops Empathy Established Continue to Listen, Give feed back, clarity understanding, Drop voice intensity again Their voice drops further once they feel really heard they can now hear you You will be able to state your needs, concerns, boundaries or limitations in an appropriately assertive manner
  15. 15. Defining the problem by Broadening Perspectives Getting the situation into their context What is the presenting problem/issue/frustration? 15 What is below the surface? Use the process to identify underlying needs and concerns that need to be addressed
  16. 16. Avoid Ambushes—Make 16 Appointments • Acknowledge their need • Be honest about your availability • Make an appointment • At a mutually suitable time • Have an agenda • What do we need to discuss? • How long do they need/can you spare • If they don’t seem to be giving you their full attention, ask yourself have I ambushed them?
  17. 17. Diffusing and Managing Workplace Conflict Promoting Positivity through your interactions by: • Shifting fixed positions • Identifying effect on bargaining power by using needs rather than fixed positions • Really hearing their message • Being appropriately assertive in your response to his/her interaction 17
  18. 18. Shifting Fixed Positions 18 ABC Model A Fixed Position B Asking Questions C Find Hidden Needs & Concerns
  19. 19. Bargaining Power vs Needs 19 Bargaining Power High Low Low High Need vs Fixed Position
  20. 20. 7 Steps to Sending and Receiving the Intended Message 20 • 1. The sender encodes their message • 2. The sender speaks their message • 3. The receiver hears the message • 4. The receiver decodes the message • 5. The receiver sends back their short version of the received message • 6. The sender hears the receiver’s interpretation of the intended message • 7.The original sender decodes the returned message and checks agreement on the facts
  21. 21. Appropriately Assertive Communication 21 • TTooooll iiss:: ““II”” SSttaatteemmeenntt · Appropriate Assertiveness is used to bring about change in another person · Co-operation between the parties is essential · The purpose of an “I” statement is to invite positive co-operation and to avoid blame, defensiveness or resistance by the other person
  22. 22. Appropriately Assertive Communication continued C Assertive Coommmmuunniiccaattiioonn SStteeppss ttoo pprreeppaarree ttoo wwrriittee aann ““II”” SSttaatteemmeenntt • 1.WWhhaatt iiss tthhee rreeaall pprroobblleemm?? 2.HHooww iiss iitt aaffffeeccttiinngg mmee?? • 3.HHooww wwoouulldd II lliikkee iitt ttoo bbee ddiiffffeerreenntt?? • 44.. WWhhaatt ddoo II nneeeedd ttoo ddoo ttoo iinnvviittee tthheemm ttoo wwoorrkk wwiitthh mmee ttoo ffiinndd aa mmuuttuuaallllyy ssaattiissffaaccttoorryy oouuttccoommee CCoonnssttrruucctt yyoouurr ssttaatteemmeenntt ttoo mmeeeett tthheessee oobbjjeeccttiivveess 22
  23. 23. Appropriately Assertive Communication continued · Hints on success for using “I” statements • Timing Place Language • Remember the “three C’s” of constructing an “I” statement. The communication needs to be: • Clean Clear Concise 23
  24. 24. Strategies to Manage and diffuse potential conflict and negativity • Understand and value the preferred management style of your manager • Reframe negative language into positive language • Employ critical thinking • Adopt key attitudes for positive outcomes • Define the problem using broader perspectives • Promote positivity through your own interactions 24
  25. 25. Management Styles 25 • Directive/Peacock • Authoritarian • Getting the job done • Consider appropriate probabilities • Emergency rules • Quick decision-making • Takes strong positions • Dictates—autocratic • My results/goals are best • Feelings/concerns implicitly attended to • Goal oriented • Power over—winners and losers
  26. 26. Management Styles 26 • Cooperative/Geese • Joint decision making • Deal with objections • Concerns/feelings attended to explicitly • Team responsibility • Long-term consultation • Increased commitment to decisions • Results in increased productivity • Ownership of solutions • Job and personal satisfaction • All views have been considered • Power with not power over
  27. 27. Management Styles 27 • Autonomous/Duck • Laissez-Faire • Self-motivated • Creative—loose structure • Open with feelings/concerns • Choose own options • Individual responsibility • Resents authoritative intervention • Personal achievement • Self-reliant • Trial and error approach to problems • Personal growth • Empowerment or Disempowerment
  28. 28. Management Styles Democratic/OWL Most effective results Representative input within time and Apply guillotine to debate issues constraints Minimise time wastage Effective Research Conscientious Developing action plans Facts and options considered Rules and regulations Power shared—some Best possible outcome disempowered 28
  29. 29. Reframing Negative Language 29 • SSoommee PPrriinncciipplleess • “You” vs “I” – describe your experience of preferred action • ““CCaann’’tt ddoo”” vvss ““CCaann ddoo”” – say what can be done • “But” vs “And” – add to instead of dismissing
  30. 30. Reframing Negative Language continued – “Should vs “Could” – add choice rather than advising • ORDER vs CHOICE – Offer choice, or request – BBLLAAMMEE vvss DDEESSCCRRIIBBEE – Describe the action rather than judging it 30
  31. 31. Reframing Negative Language continued – GENERAL vs SPECIFIC 31 Use an example – NNEEGGAATTIIVVEE vvss PPOOSSIITTIIVVEE – Find the upside, or state the preference – SOLUTION vs NEED – Take a step back to the original need or concern – C James, 1992
  32. 32. 32 Critical Thinking · Check for assumptions embedded in information, ideas & action. · Pay attention to the context of information, ideas & action. · Are sceptical of quick fix solutions, single answers to problems & claims to universal truth. · Open our minds to alternate points of view. · See our own actions through the eyes of others. · Become aware of the potential for distortion & bias. · Value diversity in thought & action. · Engage in the process of continually creating & re-creating our views. · Do not take our identity, or that of others, as settled. · Do not accept that things will always be the same & cannot change. · Do not accept that we, or anyone else, have the ultimate answer to ambiguities & problems · Have confidence that our information, ideas and actions spring from a process of careful analysis & testing
  33. 33. Key Attitudes for Positive Outcomes Culturally Aware Cooperative 33 Diplomatic Hearing Committed Assertive Sharing Power Valuing difference Flexible Respectful Empathetic Using Positive Language Ownership of outcomes
  34. 34. Defining the problem: Ask questions to broaden perspectives – Getting the situation into their context – What is the presenting problem/issue/frustration? – What is below the surface? – Use the process to identify underlying needs 34 and concerns
  35. 35. Use your own Personal Power effectively to promote positivity • Be conscious of power rather than deny it in the name of neutrality • Give advice to get parties to think rather than stating opinions • Exert influence equally—trust the process • When one party needs support empower them— do not disempower the other party • When influencing a substantive outcome provide information not pressure by stating your opinion 35
  36. 36. Ground Rules for Diffusing Conflict—so both can win 36 • Be willing to fix the problem • Say what the problem is for you • Listen to what the problem is for them • Attack the problem, not the person • Look for answers so everyone gets what they need. Fouls • Name calling • Put downs • Sneering • Blaming • Threats or getting even • Hitting • Bringing up the past • Making excuses • Not listening