Each Monday, the Martin Sunday Lighting Design team has a team meeting, though we begin these meetings a little bit different than the average company team meeting. We start with a group Meditation session lead by one of our team leaders, we “Check In” with each other, then we’re led in a Personal Development Teaching Piece where a designated team member teaches the team something new that they’ve benefitted from either in their personal or professional life. You can learn more about this by reading What Sets Our Team Apart.
This week, it was Martin’s turn to lead the Personal Development Teaching Piece and he chose an article found on Forbes.com titled 5 Keys of Dealing with Workplace Conflict. Feel free to take a moment to read over this article before diving into our discussion below.
Martin began by reading the article out loud and we went around the table taking turns reading from there on. After reading the first paragraph, Martin spoke out and said, “What I can speak to that, is that if conflict is not dealt with, it can dance around in your head and keep you distracted instead of allowing you to be focused on productivity.”
Martin went on to read the next paragraph and mentioned the importance of the last sentence that states: “It is not at all uncommon to see what might have been a non-event manifest itself into a monumental problem if not resolved early on.” (This text was extracted from Forbes article, 5 Keys of Dealing with Workplace Conflict) He then added, “we have seen a small problem within the office turn into a larger problem since we haven’t been able to confront it yet, although if we continue to avoid it, the problem has the capability of turning into a monumental issue.“
We continued going around the table, taking turns reading the paragraphs from the article. When we came across the paragraph that lists out behaviors/actions that can create conflict, as well as the 2 major causes of conflict, we stopped for a moment to dive deeper into it.
The 2 Major Causes of Conflict:
- Communication – If you reflect back upon conflicts you have encountered over the years, you’ll quickly recognize many of them resulted from a lack of information, poor information, no information, or misinformation. Let’s assume for a moment that you were lucky enough to have received good information, but didn’t know what to do with it…That is still a communication problem, which in turn can lead to conflict. Clear, concise, accurate, and timely communication of information will help to ease both the number and severity of conflicts. (This text was extracted from Forbes article, 5 Keys of Dealing with Workplace Conflict)
- Emotions – Another common mistake made in workplace communications which leads to conflict is letting emotions drive decisions. I have witnessed otherwise savvy executives place the need for emotional superiority ahead of achieving their mission (not that they always understood this at the time). Case in point – have you ever witnessed an employee throw a fit of rage and draw the regrettable line in the sand in the heat of the moment? If you have, what you really watched was a person indulging their emotions rather than protecting their future. (This text was extracted from Forbes article, 5 Keys of Dealing with Workplace Conflict)
At this point, I chimed in and said, “This goes for relationships out of the workplace too. The majority of the conflicts between my partner and I are because of communication issues. Either I left something out, he didn’t understand me, he misunderstood what I said, etc. – this is where 99% of our conflict comes into play. The good thing is, we understand and recognize this and are always working towards better communication with each other. With that being said, I definitely agree with communication being a major cause of conflict within the workplace.“
We finished up reading the article then began a group discussion where we were able to freely express our thoughts. Martin made an excellent point when he stated, “As soon as we allow someone else’s behaviors to affect us, they’ve won. It’s super important for us to remember to not take someone else’s emotions on, especially if we find ourselves dealing with a tough client. We have to remember that it’s not about us. They might be having a bad day, going through a tough situation, etc., but it in no-way hurts us to be the bigger person and chose to extend compassion towards [the difficult client].”
Each Team Member’s Personal Thoughts On This Teaching Piece
We’ll end our discussion today by taking a moment to share each team member’s personal thoughts on this teaching piece; what it meant to them, what they took away from it or how they plan to utilize the information moving forward. You can learn more about each team member by visiting our Meet the Team page
My partner and I are very proactive in finding ways to avoid conflict from reoccurring as well as preventing new ones from developing. We take the time to review past conflicts on days where we have a clear head so that we can find solutions. This is something that I can work on doing in the workplace to help resolve future conflicts on my end as much as possible.
This teaching piece was really great for us to review as a team. I really liked how number 5 says to “view conflict as an opportunity to learn“. Every time conflict arises, you have to find a way to move past it, and this alternative viewpoint helps you grow and develop both personally and professionally.
This article has helped me understand the two main causes of conflict – communication problems and emotions (uncontrollable outbursts). The big takeaways for me are: define acceptable behavior, confront conflict head-on, understand the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) factor, pick your battles and view conflict as an opportunity.
My takeaways from this teaching: 1. The real truth is, there will always be conflict in the office. What’s important is to have a framework in place for when conflict does arise in order to have conflict resolution and that everyone agrees to utilize it. 2. Conflict is going to be a constant in any organization and it must be embraced versus avoided.
Want to ensure you never miss an update? Sign up to receive Personal Development Discussion articles for free directly in your inbox each week!
Hungry for more? Be sure to check out these previous Personal Development Team Teaching to indulge in more personal growth teachings.