Working Dynamics Newsletter

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February 2005 

Greetings!

Strong work relationships are at the heart of an organization's ability to accomplish its goals, as well as an individual's ability to achieve a successful and rewarding career. Unmanaged conflict in the workplace can be a serious impediment to work relationships actually "working." We hope these reminders of financial and personal costs and communication tips will be useful to you. You are welcome to forward this newsletter to others. The best way to send it is to click the "Forward Newsletter" button at the bottom of this page. (Email addresses on this mailing list will never be sold, rented, or given to any other party).

As always, we enjoy hearing back from you. Best wishes for a strong and rewarding year!

Susan Gunn, Working Dynamics

In this issue...

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  • Workplace Conflict Can Be a Costly Problem If You Ignore It!
  • Respect: Essential for Healthy Work Relationships
  • Apologies at Work: Power and Simplicity
  • Quiz Yourself on How You Manage Conflict at Work

Respect: Essential for Healthy Work Relationships

Meeting photo "Respect is like air. If you take it away, it's all people can think about." (Crucial Conversations, 2002). How true! We all know how it feels when we don't feel respected, how unacceptable others find it when they feel disrespected, and how a work relationship can be put on hold when respect is in question. And yet, showing respect equally to everyone in your workplace is a challenge at times. Perhaps you don't agree with the other person. Maybe you don't feel you have the time to give to it? Perhaps some history makes it difficult for you to be the one to take the first step to rebuild a trusting, respectful relationship. Despite the obstacles, opportunities to show respect for others present themselves almost every workday. These opportunities can be times when you see things differently from the other person, when there is anxiety about uncertainties in the workplace, or when you need to give bad news. You can use these opportunities to show respect through listening, empathy, and collaboration.

(Read more...)

 

Apologies at Work: Power and Simplicity

Maze Two simple words, "I'm sorry," can have the most profound effect in disentangling a complicated dispute. Yet they can be two of the hardest words to master even in everyday communications. After years of mediating workplace conflict, I remain in awe of the power of an apology to shift the direction of everyday interpersonal disputes and even turn the tide almost instantly in a complex case headed for formal litigation. Currently, the practice of apologizing and admitting mistakes is being studied as a way to head off lengthy and expensive malpractice claims. If it can work in these situations, imagine the power in your working relationships. Bob Rosner, author of Apologies at Work: Learn to Apologize with a Bit of Grace, offers four tips so you "not only won't get burned, you may actually increase the respect of your co-workers."

(Four tips...)

 

Quiz Yourself on How You Manage Conflict at Work

Meeting 3 Conflict at work is inevitable, and everyone experiences it. How are you as a conflict manager? Response variation among managers is due in large part to variation in skill levels. Imagine yourself in one of these situations:

  1. Too much of your time is spent refereeing employees who are bickering and not working together
  2. A colleague who was formerly very cooperative and helpful now is not
  3. You are frustrated that you and your team have different definitions of what it takes to get the job done
  4. You feel excluded from important discussions since you and your boss disagreed

Take a few moments to think about your typical responses. Do you "get it right" sometimes, but not often enough? Ask yourself a few questions with our short quiz. If you would like to become more consistent as a conflict manager, contact us.

(Quiz yourself...)

 

Workplace Conflict
Can Be a Costly Problem
If You Ignore It!

ostrich

Don't find yourself hiding your head in the sand!

Avoiding conflict by pretending it isn't there is the most commonly used method of handling conflict. Despite its popularity, avoiding conflict has a miserable success rate!

Workplace conflict can be a costly problem if you ignore it!

  • Managers spend 30% to 40% of their time handling employee conflicts
  • Replacing a trained employee costs 150% of the employee's annual salary
  • At least 50% of voluntary departures are caused by conflict
  • Conflict litigation to fix small problems can cost thousands of dollars

Early attention at the beginning stages can reduce time, cost, and stress associated with interpersonal conflict. Shift your organization from one of conflict avoiders to conflict managers.

Request a confidential, free consultation

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