Tag Archives: conflict resolution

Being Promoted to Your Boss’s Level

Congratulations! You make more money and things are awkward.

You work incredibly hard, and truly care about your company. When a big management position opens up, you’re ready for it and submit your resume. You ace the interview (perhaps thanks in part to our handy tips), and now you’re a manager!

There’s only one problem: that means your previous boss is now just a regular co-worker. How do you act? What can you say? Is it all right to ask them to meet deadlines?

Here are our tips on turning a former boss into a colleague.

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Diffusing Tension in the Workplace

Resolve conflict and bring peace to the work world

The workplace is complicated. It doesn’t matter if you work on an assembly line, type away at a cubicle, make cold calls in a call center, or take customer orders at a dinner table; you always deal with other people.

We’re all human and we have bad days. And sometimes you might do something inadvertently to make someone’s day worse. It could be a miscommunication via email, perhaps you chew loudly, or maybe there’s a scheduling conflict you just can’t agree on. These little things add up and suddenly there’s tension between the two of you.

Getting rid of that tension is one of the most important workplace soft skills. An employee who can effectively resolve conflict is priceless. So, how is this accomplished?

There are five main styles for managing conflict, according to Thomas, Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann originators of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. The key is to figure out the right mix of styles for any given situation, and recognize your coworker’s preferred conflict management style.

Here are those given conflict management styles, as outlined by SourcesOfInsight.com.

  1. Accommodating

Think of this as killing your enemy with kindness.

Basically, if accommodating is your style of choice, your tendency is to give into the other person’s desires without making sure you get what you want. Maybe you think your boss’ idea is less than great, but don’t tell them because that would make waves.

Although it might sound cowardly on paper, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the accommodating style. All styles are valid. For example, it’s usually better to defer to those with more experience when you’re new to the job.

  1. Avoiding 

With this style, you avoid conflict at all costs. You never win arguments and prefer to stay out of the combat zone entirely. You don’t want to say no so you end up saying nothing. Think of this as the “let well enough alone” mentality.

Avoidance is a great for when emotions are running high and you need time to think, when you know you can’t win, or just don’t feel like the situation is worth the effort. Why engage when there will be minimal gains?

  1. Collaborating

Think of this as the “win-win” scenario. You want to work with your coworker in order to achieve common ground and for everyone to get what they want.

This is a great conflict resolution style when everyone is already on the same page. You trust each other, value teamwork,  say what you mean, and don’t have to worry about hurt feelings. It’s not a great choice when emotions are running high or people’s viewpoints are diametrically opposed.

  1. Competing

This is the “might makes right” mentality. You want to get what you want no matter what, and the opposing side’s wishes aren’t important.

Again, this sounds like the angry boss who intimidates his direct reports into getting something done. In that case, it’s not the best decision. But if you’re an accountant on a deadline and someone on another team is trying to tell you how to do your job, competing is a perfect response. You know your job better than someone in a different department, and don’t have time to worry about hurt feelings.

  1. Compromising

Think of this as standard negotiating procedure. The “give and take” approach. You and your coworker both work toward a solution by giving things up until common ground is reached.

The main problem with this one is that it takes time and isn’t affective when someone is unwilling to give anything up. That means it’s best used when you need a temporary solution or when both sides have important goals. However, beware: compromising can frequently be the result when collaborating is the better choice because it’s easier to get done. But if everyone can get what they want with a bit of hard work, why not go that route?

If you’re partial to any of these conflict resolution tactics, ask yourself if you’re trying the same solution in every situation and not getting the results you need. If you are, you might want to explore other methods to get rid of the problem.

Have you ever had to solve a workplace dispute? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below.

These Surprising Skills May Land You a Job This Year

skills_to_get_hired_webAt this point in your career or job search, you’ve probably heard a lot about skills. There are hard skills, like typing and reading, and soft skills, like etiquette and time management. You know that you should seek ways to sharpen your leadership abilities and brush up on your communication talents. But, today’s business world is constantly changing, which means the skills employers seek are, too. In fact, there are a few surprising skills you may not even know you need to improve your chances of landing a job this year.

According to FastCompany, there are eight career skills that will not only help you secure interviews, but also seal the deal with a potential employer. Among those skills are some familiar qualities, like strong communication skills and the desire to learn. Employers are always looking for people who know how to communicate effectively, no matter their role in the company, and you should never turn down the opportunity to learn a new skill, equipment, or ability.

There are other skills FastCompany mentioned, however, that are not so common. Let’s take a look at the abilities you may not know you need.

Knowledge of Other Cultures
According to Paula Caligiuri, professor of international business and strategy at Northeastern University, leaders rank working with people from different cultures as their weakest skill. This weakness could be because they lack the opportunity to work with other cultures, or because they aren’t aware of its importance. Paula says that when you study and interact with other cultures, you learn tolerance, perspective, and humility. These are all traits that employers like to see, so take some time to learn about other cultures and sharpen your knowledge of how business works in countries other than your own.

A Global Mind-Set
Did you know that the fastest-growing economies are in Asia and South America? Businesses today benefit from knowing how prosperous countries are doing business, growing, and succeeding. If you know how to market, sell, and communicate to those countries, you automatically make yourself an ideal candidate for employers who need those skills on their team.

Effective Conflict Resolution
Conflict exists in virtually every workplace. But, how you deal with that conflict says a lot about you. Companies want to find employees who work well with others and know how to effectively resolve conflict. Take some time to learn skills that help you address issues as they arise and sort through conflict, like communication skills and anger management. Many employers will rule out a candidate if they don’t know how to resolve conflict, so make sure you aren’t one of them.

An Understanding of Analytics
According to Merriam Webster, the study of analytics is “a careful study of something to learn about its parts, what they do, and how they are related to each other.” It’s also classified as “an explanation of the nature and meaning of something.” In your career field, analytics may mean the study of how many visitors the company website attracts, how many customers are buying products, or which days of the week are better for your business. Whatever it may be, understanding how to read and decipher such information is essential to successfully stand out from the job search competition. Be sure to brush up on your ability to research and sort data, and include examples of how you’ve used analytics on your resume.

What other skills do you think are important for landing a job this year? Share with us in the comments section below.

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