Posted: March 27, 2019
Presenter: Dr. Lynette Reed
Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Lynette Reed’s What Type of Conflict Do You Have In Your Workplace? webinar being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations. You may watch the live recording of this webinar at your convenience.
The speakers will be indicated as [Dr. LR] and [Kyle] before each question or statement for clarity.
[Dr. LR]- Today, we are obviously talking about conflict, which I’m guessing everybody who has joined today has seen in their workplace. It’s a pretty common thing. So we’re gonna put some definitions and some information out for you that may help you a little bit when you’re looking at conflict in your workplace and how to manage it a little bit better. So, let’s get started. Uh oh. Technical difficulty. Let’s try it one more time. Sorry about that guys.
What Causes Conflict?
There we go.
[Dr. LR]- So what causes conflict? I have found that you feel conflict when there’s a clash between your perception and something around you. So in other words, you see or you feel something that has occurred and you have a response to it, whether it be a visceral or cognitive—in other words, you’ll either feel it in your gut or you’ll feel it in your brain, one of the two, and you’ll feel conflict with it or clash with it.
People Places Events
[Dr. LR]- Usually, these conflicts are related to one of these three areas I have found. Most people, most employees would say people is the main one but I do also think that places and events can bring some conflict to the way that we do work, so they all kind of work together.
Here’s how I break it down a little bit. When you’re looking at people, there’s things like poor communication, differing viewpoints, I’m sure that as you’re sitting here looking at this, you’re probably thinking of your workplace and some of the people that you work with and how they do it. We’ll see different things with that as we go along and talk about how this impacts things like diversity and culture, things like that.
Places—I do think, from what I have seen, that where you work, whether it be remote—some people, it’s very much a conflict if they have to work remote or some people like to work remote more and it’s more of a conflict if they have to sit in a cubicle, so everybody is a little bit different, which goes back to the people and differing viewpoints. Unhealthy workspaces—if you’re in a high fluorescent place with a lot of people close to you, sometimes that may not be a workspace that works well for you and it causes you some conflict with your environment and you tend to clash with that.
And then also Events—lack of planning, I’m sure a lot of people see that. I hear that an awful lot in today’s society, that there’s a lack of, it’s more conflict management than it is lack of planning that’s the big thing. So people tend to like to do more crisis management than thinking things out and making a plan for them, which is ironic because I hear this a lot from project managers [laughs], which you would think “Project Management..?,” changes in projects, things like that.
Some things are controllable. Some things are not. I think that, too, it doesn’t really matter as much as far as conflict is concerned whether you’re the boss or an employee—you’re still gonna feel these conflicts and you’re gonna have to manage them whether you’re managing them from a more personal aspect or whether you’re managing them from your own workspace, as a manager. Ok.
And these all can occur obviously at the same time so you may have high conflict, where people, places and events are all causing a clash with who you are or what you’re doing. Ok.
Taking A Look At Conflict
[Dr. LR]- Let’s just take a little look, if we can get it to work. Yep, there you go. You never know with videos, it’s always a crapshoot whether they’re gonna work or not. Let’s just take a moment, and I just want to give you a couple of examples of conflict in the workplace and I want you just to think about your own workspace and what conflicts you’re starting to see or conflicts you’re aware of as you’re doing this. [Transcription Note- The video being referred to is on YouTube and it’s labeled “Best of Dwight Schrute. There’s no attribution as to who clipped this from “The Office,” so for those who might want to watch along while reading this, hopefully you can find the compilation in question.]
So as you can see from that video, that would be to me a great example of differing viewpoints, workspace, conflict with differing people, places and events.
With Each Conflict There Is A Choice.
[Dr. LR]- That’s one part of conflict. The second part is more of the kind of conflict where you have a choice. If these things are constantly going on in your workspace and you’re constantly having to deal with these types of situations, then there is one thing you do have a choice about and this is where you are able to gain a little bit of control and management of any conflict situation. You do have some choices out there.
There’s a difference between the blameless conflict and the fracturing conflict. For any event that happens, once it happens, you can say, “Ok, I’m gonna choose to do blameless conflict or I’m gonna choose to do fracturing conflict,” and they each have an impact on everything that happens in your workplace and everything that happens also internally with you. There’s personal benefits and gains to both the—but obviously, the blameless one we’re gonna probably go to as you can probably guess. There is a personal benefit to having a conflict that is more managed and less fracturing, ok. So I’ve given you a little hint there as to which way where we’re going.
[Dr. LR]- Fracturing conflict, these are the three elements that I have found in fracturing conflict. It focuses on blame, which is like the blame game. If you’ll notice, people like to, in situations where something has happened, they will start to say, “Ok. Somebody’s got to be at fault here. Somebody has to be causing the problem,” and so it’s either, “Someone has to be wrong and someone gets to be right or something is good and something is bad.” You’re always looking for somebody that’s the problem, ok.
The second one is, it concentrates on the past. Usually, when you’re playing the blame game, you’re looking to the past and trying to recreate it and I think one of the biggest challenges with that is if you have differing people with different points of view and different situations and different environments, it’s very hard to a hundred percent recreate the past exactly like it happened. And so you’re gonna have these different narratives that are going to be the focus instead of focusing on the ways to fix it or make it work correctly.
As you can obviously see, anytime that you do this, you’re disconnecting people, you know, because somebody’s right and somebody’s wrong. Just as a side note, I do think this has become a pretty significant way that we view things because in its strongest form, it does kind of turn into bullying because if you’re looking at something and you’re saying, “I’m wrong, you’re right,” at the workplace or even at home, what ends up happening is you won’t stop—or some people won’t, not you necessarily—but some people won’t stop until they have talked the other person into believing like they do.
I think that’s the biggest challenge with this is, if you want a very polarized workplace, then this is probably what’s going on or how you’re managing it or somebody, your boss, is managing it because that’s what you’re gonna start to find with this fracturing conflict. This also kind of fits in with the whole crisis management thing. If there’s a problem, well oh my gosh, there’s a problem, let’s find somebody to blame instead of fixing the problem, ok.
[Dr. LR]- Blameless conflict, it’s kind of the opposite. It focuses on the situation and what I mean by that is think of it in terms of a third person event. You’re saying that the person is in a situation but we’re not finding the blame in it. We’re just looking to see what happens. The narrative of that might sound like this, “Jill didn’t get her work done on time.” Ok. If you’re talking fracturing conflict, the narrative would say, “Jill is an idiot.” If you’ll notice, one lays good or bad on somebody and the other one just speaks to what’s happening, you know, it is not getting done on time. The project is off-track. Bob needs to finish this project instead of Dad is crazy, he’s an idiot, we’re doing this all wrong. Any time you use the narrative of wrong, right, good or bad, you’re gonna automatically go to a fracturing one because you’re not trying to connect people and bring them together. You’re trying to pull them apart.
The other thing about blameless conflict is it concentrates on the future so if something happens, even if somebody does something obviously wrong, what happens with this is you say, “Ok, that was an epic fail,” or “That was totally messed up,” or “John did not get that done on time, so therefore we need to focus on how we’re going to move forward on this.” You can already start to see a pattern emerging between these two types of conflicts. Even if the situation of people, places and events remain constant through that as you start to look at blameless versus fracturing conflict management, you’re finding that you really do have some control over the situation.
As a person, it makes you feel different because if you’re an employee and you use blameless conflict, you’re always going to feel like someone’s against you, that there’s no calm in the workplace whereas if you are thinking in terms of—I’m sorry, that’s with fracturing conflict—but with blameless conflict, you’re going to always feel like you have control of the situation and you’re concentrating on the future. You can kind of feel that dynamic between, “Do I want to, as a person or as a manager or as a person in a workplace, what kind of conflict do I want to manage here? Do I want to manage it in a narrative that says everybody’s to blame and we just want to talk about that or do I want to talk about it from how do we focus on the situation and talk about it in the third person of what happened and then concentrate on the future.”
I think one of the things you see with that is, people start to feel more connected because it becomes more of a problem solving venture at that time because you’re saying, “Hey let’s not play the blame game. Let’s just focus on what happened. Here’s what happened. Here’s how we’re going to fix it in the future and here’s how we’re gonna work together to do it. This is your job. This is your job. This is your job. Your timeline is this, this and this,” and that way you kind of keep moving forward. Ok.
The Meeting- An Example
[Dr. LR]- I want to give you an example and I want to just talk briefly about perception. Sometimes there’s even conflict that we make that’s not really even true conflict. Ok. I have an example that’s from a true story. This actually happened. A company called me in to work with two individuals. For the sake of argument, I’m going to call them John and Kyle. Ok. That’s not their real names but—these two gentlemen, apparently they were at war. They were very upset with each other and they had polarized the entire company. There were probably about ten people and half of them were for John and half of them were for Kyle. It was just causing total chaos. Nobody could get any work done because the whole day was centered around this argument between these two gentlemen.
After going through and having a discussion with both of them and trying to weed it down, what I actually found out was that John and Kyle were in a meeting together and John looked over at Kyle and Kyle thought, “Wow. That was an ugly look. What did I do. I haven’t done anything. I thought we were friends,” cause they used to go out and have coffee together. He started kind of avoiding John after that because Kyle didn’t want to be around that kind of hostile face. John started noticing that Kyle was kind of avoiding him. So he was thinking, “What did I do. I thought we were friends. We had coffee together and I don’t know what’s going on with him but I don’t want to be around that.” They started avoiding each other and nobody really said anything about it. Nobody really talked about it.
Kyle then started—somebody was saying, “Kyle, why are you avoiding John. I thought you all were friends,” and it just kept snowballing and snowballing until finally they were at odds with each other and had a war going. I actually sat down with John and found out that whenever he was in that meeting, he just, whenever he thinks, he scowls. He happened to be looking at a point right behind Kyle and, there was a little clock back there, and he was looking and he was thinking and he was scowling in the direction of Kyle. In this scenario, you could change the entire conflict of the organization by having this lack of communication and not figuring out what was wrong—the minute we figured it out, everything was fine. We magically fixed it in like five minutes after they sat down and it was like, “Ohhh ok. Well, no big deal.”
I use that as an example because I think it’s a great way to show how people can cause conflict without even really meaning to. That’s why it’s really important when things come up in conflict that you don’t let it sit and fester, that you go ahead and address it—a lot of people tend to avoid conflict—and I think in this way you can help to keep things going forward and moving that blameless conflict forward if we do that. You can also do it in the fracturing one but what I have found is that most people who work in fracturing conflict also tend to avoid a little bit cause it’s not as confronting.
Everything works different for different organizations. Each organization has a different way of doing things and so you have to kind of make it work towards yours. The constant in all of that is that I think you will find that blameless conflict does tend to help keep people moving forward and keep them connected. If that’s your goal in the conflict, then that’s the way to do that. Ok.
Example 1—Limited Work Ethic
[Dr. LR]- I got a couple of other little examples for you. I like to do these videos because I think it’s a good opportunity for you to think about your own company and people that are doing it. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about blameless versus fracturing after the video and that way hopefully, it’ll help you apply it to someone or something that you have at work. Ok. [Transcription Note- The video being referred to is on YouTube and it’s called Office Space 3/5 Movie Clip- Motivation Problem. It’s from Fandango Movie Clips.]
Ok, so with that one—oop, let me go back to that one, sorry. Think about that for just a minute. If you have somebody in your office, this is an example of a type of conflict, somebody is not getting their work done and you’re gonna work with it either as fracturing or blameless conflict. Probably you already can start to see the narrative that’s gonna occur with each of them. If you’re looking at it as fracturing conflict, you’re probably thinking, “Oh that guy is a real jerk. He doesn’t get his work done. He’s lazy, he’s not doing anything that he’s supposed to be doing. I just want to complain about the fact that he is such an idiot.” [laughs] And then on the opposite side, if you wanted to do the blameless conflict, your narrative would be more, “He’s not getting his work done on time. What do we need to do to manage that. We need to either put him on a corrective action, we need to fire him, we need to (if he’s a co-worker) set boundaries with him, get my work done, document…”
You can start to feel the difference. If you think about how, if you’re interacting in that way with people, it changes not only for yourself, it kind of gives you a more calm, direct way of dealing with things and gives you a little more control. Or it’s not. You just have to kind of decide how you’re gonna deal with that in your own workplace.
Example 2—Differing Views
[Dr. LR]- If anybody has any questions, feel free to ask. We can take a break and stop if somebody has a question. Alright. Here’s the second one. [Transcription Note- The video being referred to is on YouTube and it’s called Suck It, Oscar! – The Office US and it appears to be from the office, which presumably is the official host of Office clips.]
Ok. Once again, you can see that everyone has different views and you get to choose. Whenever you’re looking at any kind of a situation where there’s conflict, you can either say “That guy’s a jerk (or) That’s ridiculous (or) He didn’t do that right (or) That’s bad,” or you can say, “Let’s just put that aside and move forward and go on with our process.” It seems like a very simple thing to do but what I actually find, that it’s very, very difficult sometimes for people to put that kind of perspective in place. You get so busy with your project management and your, the work that you have to get done throughout the day that things like culture and behavior and stuff like that tend to fall into the background a little bit. We kind of put them as secondary since they’re more soft skills and they’re not directly related to whether or not the work gets done.
One thing I do find is that with blameless conflict, you do see a lot more work being done in a more efficient and effective way.
Let me see if I can…there we go.
Conflict Effects Efficiency And Effectiveness Of Your Team
[Dr. LR]- That being said, conflict does affect the efficiency and effectiveness of your team. What I mean by this is that whenever you think of conflict, look at the two we have looked at: fracturing and blameless. If you do fracturing conflict, think about how much time people spend talking about the past, talking about people who are frustrating to them, talking about the things they don’t like or what’s wrong. Think about with blameless conflict how much time you would spend doing the work that needs to be done in your office.
There’s actually been a number of studies done that show that about twenty percent of revenue is lost to inefficiencies. If you think about how much time and money your company can save by keeping this forward moving conflict management in place, the more effective your team can actually become. It kind of becomes a cycle when you think about it, the work you actually have to do, the physical work that’s the technical part of your day and the management of the conflict, kind of do a circular motion, one to the other and the more effectively you’re managing that conflict in a blameless way, the more effective you are at doing the work and the technical things because people aren’t distracted away from the actual work and the workload of things that they have to do during the day with the conflict that can sometimes take it over and really just break down a company. I see that very, very often in a lot of companies.
Conflict Also Plays A Role In Culture, Creativity, Innovation, Diversity And Engagement.
[Transcription Note- There’s a URL listed at the bottom of the slide presently displayed with this title card and it is https://smallbusiness.chron.com/can-conflict-good-organization-741.html]
[Dr. LR]- Conflict also plays a role in culture, creativity, innovation, diversity and engagement. I know that everybody hears about these quite a bit and I really think that they are incredibly important to the way that we do our work. We kind of think that it’s a little of a side note but really when you think about the role that conflict plays in everybody’s everyday lifestyle, the way that you handle conflict and the way that you manage it is going to touch on pretty much everything that happens in your job. If you take, for instance, somebody who is working on projects and trying to time manage their day and has multiple things going on, multiple tasking and all of that—that’s at the forefront but we lose track of how we do all of the stuff together and how we treat each other and how we manage the softer part of—the softer skills of the situation, how much we really lose in the technical and the business part because they both play off of each other.
When you’re talking about things like culture, people who, you know, they’ve done thousands of studies that show that culture, creativity, innovation, diversity and engagement all change the way that people work. Companies that have strong culture, creativity, innovation, diversity and engagement all are able to do their work more effectively and more efficiently. There’s a little link if you want to write that down. It talks a little bit about that role if you’re interested in looking at some more but—it really does change it. If you’re in a company that has a solid culture and a solid way of managing conflict, you probably see a lot of these things in your organization and how people work together, also things like teamwork. If you don’t have it, if you have a more fracturing one, it may be that you don’t really see this part. You don’t really have this in place as strongly. That impacts not only the business but it also impacts your personal life.
When they talk about personal development, that’s one of the things they’re talking about is, “How do you develop a workstyle that keeps, gives you calm and a sense of peace and helps you feel like you’re more in control even when you’re not in control of the technical stuff,” and I think that’s what the blameless conflict does for you. It helps you to say, “Ok. I may not be able to control the people, the places, the events but I can control how I choose to respond to them and if I choose to respond in a blameless conflict, I’m not only saving the company time, money and building teamwork and all of these things but I’m also giving myself the opportunity to have a little bit more sense of calm and being more in control,” because you do have that one bit of control that you would not have with the fracturing.
You’re really starting to see that pattern of, “Which way do I want to take my company and myself with this. Do I want to have more fractured conflict management or do I want to have the more blameless one.” Ok. That kind of gives you a chance to think about that a little bit.
Awareness à Words à Actions
[Dr. LR]- The last part of where I want to go with this conversation is kind of a little side note. I do think it’s very important that when we’re talking about conflict and the kinds of conflict and the ways that we manage them…If you’re in an environment where you’ve worked at a company for a number of years and it’s a fractured conflict management style and that’s what you’ve gotten used to, you may not even be aware of the fact that you’re in a fracturing conflict management place. It may be that you’re so used to it that it’s become the norm, it’s kind of like—they say that with a frog, the way to boil a frog is to start the water really low and then kind of boil it up.
That’s kind of the visual that comes to my mind whenever people are working at a place where there’s a very fracturing environment and they’ve worked there so long they just kind of lost track of how it’s impacted them personally and also the organization and the people in it. I think the first step is always having an awareness. When you’re looking at conflict and the kinds of conflict in your workplace, it’s good to take a few moments and just kind of think about, in terms of, what am I missing, what’s out there that’s possibly bringing conflict that I don’t know about and kind of put words to it. That way, you’re kind of taking it from your subconscious or to kind of that more mental place to a more verbal place cause in our brains, we have different places that we, you know, use our brain.
If you’re wanting to kind of move that forward in how you’re going to manage that conflict, you want to take it from the awareness of it to the words and then the last one would be the actions. One of the things that I have found is that, in fact, if you look at words and actions, if I ask people which is the more, what is the better measure of the true nature of a person: is it their words or their actions. I would say 99.9 percent of people tell me it’s actions.
Remember That Actions Tell The True Nature Of You And Your Workplace
[Dr. LR]- When you think about conflict and conflict management and how that all plays into your organization, if you talk and talk and talk about, “Yes we’re a good place to work. We don’t have much conflict. Everything’s nice. We don’t blame people,” but then your actions turn around and do that—you’ve automatically fractured it because people will see a disconnect between what you’re saying and what actually happens in the organization.
If you’re truly, truly wanting to change a conflict management style, then what you have to really think of is in terms of what actions can I take in order to make that work because if you’re just talking about it—if you go back to my previous slide, awareness, words and then actions. The last one is actions and that’s the one that is most important to take it to in order to be truly authentic. When you talk about authenticity in a workplace, that’s where you find the truest authenticity is when the words and actions match. Ok. Alright.
Is There A Lot Of Conflict At Work?
[Dr. LR]- What I want to do, just here at the end a little bit, I was asked to give a little bit of time to ask questions so what I want to do is give you a moment to think about your workplace. This is kind of the awareness and words part of the discussions on conflict and how do you manage it in the workplace. You have to start with really thinking about your own particular workplace and what’s going on there.
Is there a lot of conflict at work? Just think about that for your own organization. Is it a lot of people, mostly people, is it places, do you have trouble working in your environment? Is it events? Is your company disorganized or is your boss kind of a crisis manager? What kind of a conflict do you have in that workplace?
How Does Conflict Effect My Work?
[Dr. LR]- Ok. And then how does the conflict effect my work. Some people, conflict is good for them. They thrive on it. It doesn’t bother them. Is it a positive work situation for me or is it something where it’s really pulling me down and making it hard for me to focus, helping me to stay connected. What does the conflict—how does it effect my work? Ok. Just kind of think about those.
What Kind Of Conflict Do I Want To Promote At Work?
[Dr. LR]- I believe these slides are available after if you want to go back and look at them too. What kind of conflict do I want to promote at work? [laughs] And when I say this, I don’t mean conflict as in, “I want to put the pencils in-between the desks between two people or poke at someone.” [Transcription Note- This image is from the first Office video mentioned without direct link attribution or knowledge.] I mean the conflict of, “Do I want blameless conflict or fracturing conflict at work.” Although some people might find it fun to do the pencils and it’s not a conflict. That’s the thing you have to kind of look at is what may be a conflict for one person may not be conflict for another. You know.
What Changes Do I Need To Make To Promote The Type Of Conflict I Would Like To See At Work?
[Dr. LR]- Alright. What changes do I need to make to promote the type of conflict I would like to see at work? Remember, you can only do this for yourself. That’s another little side note I should make is one of the things with conflict is the reason we have it is because we’re clashing with other people who have different views and different ways of looking at the world and different workstyles. You really can’t change other people since that’s kind of in that other little circle of things that we can’t control but you can control how you want to manage it as far as, “Do you want to do it from the blameless or the fracturing and if so, what do you have to do to make that happen?” Ok.
Five Tips For Dealing With Conflict In Project Management
[Dr. LR]- I put this slide here. I actually—there is an article in MPUG that’s called, “Five Tips For Dealing With Conflict In Project Management,” and it’s available in their journal. That’s an article that I wrote on conflict that breaks it down a little bit for how to deal with conflict if anybody is interested in looking at that. That’s another resource for you.
[Dr. LR]- Before I take any questions, I do want to have a little takeaway for you. These are the takeaways that I hope that you were able to gain from this webinar. One is that blameless conflict strengthens your organization. If you remember blameless conflict, there’s really only two things you have to remember about blameless conflict to make it really work for you and that is that you speak to events in third person, no good or bad, no wrong or right, and you move it forward it forward to the future, not to the past. Any time you get in a conflict and you want to go blameless, those are the two things you need to ask yourself to do in order to get into a blameless conflict management style. Ok.
The second one is your actions speak to your true nature. Remember, the next time you say, “Yes I want to do blameless conflict,” that would include you doing the actions that would follow that up and that will give you the authenticity to make it so that people will trust you and will feel as if you are being in the true nature of who you want to be.
The last one is that people, places and events can cause conflict but also perceptions can cause conflict. Making sure that when you move forward in conflict, when you’re moving towards the blameless conflict, you kind of identify what conflict it is and why it’s a conflict because it may be something that you need to deal with on a secondary area that has nothing to do with whether it’s conflict or not.
Ok. I think that ends the presentation portion of my webinar. Are there any questions?
[Kyle]- Thanks Lynette. Yeah we do have a couple questions and it looks like we have about five minutes left. Looks like both questions are speaking to conflict with management.
[Dr. LR]- Yes.
[Kyle]- The first one here is, he kind of lays out the situation, “I was trying to use blameless conflict to keep people connected. However, most people on a project team know who is responsible for something not getting done. They blame management for not resolving the real issue even though they may not understand that management was aware and was doing something about it but that information could not be shared with the team specifically. I’m curious how do you handle the team with my team, how do you handle the conflict my team had with management?”
[Dr. LR]- Yeah. That’s actually a good question. That is a real challenge because when you’ve got the people who are the management; they’re kind of in charge and they get to decide whether it’s crisis management or whether it’s gonna be more free-flowing kind of management where everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing and all. I think, to me, the biggest challenge with things like that is having to recognize that we really can’t control other people and we can’t control the bosses. Whenever we get in that type of situation where that’s what we’re looking at and thinking about, we’re gonna always feel frustrated because there’s no control there.
For me, what I’m finding with people is that when you can get into a place and it’s—sometimes it’s easy to get there and sometimes it’s not—where you just keep yourself connected to those kind of blameless conflict management questions of, “How can I move this forward because I may be the only person moving this forward (you know what I mean) and how do I move my team forward,” and say Ok, we can’t control that so let’s just not play the blame game but let’s keep doing that. What you almost are trying to do is get a new process in place. For a lot of people who are in project management, process is a real important thing for keeping the technical side of it done. I think process is also an important thing for keeping people in that blameless conflict mode—you have to have a process of saying, “Ok I know we’re frustrated and human nature wants us to go toward the blame and the fact that we can’t change it—but what can we do as a team or what can I do as a person—to keep this forward momentum going of even though I can’t control that, what can I control and how do I control it.”
Some people though, unfortunately, you know, if you’re in a situation where you can’t find a calm place for yourself, some people do have to find other places to work. It may be that the conflict is too high so you have to kind of gauge can I manage this conflict in a way. But what I find is the blameless conflict, once you get it in a process and people are using it and managing in that style kind of seamlessly, it makes people feel much calmer and in control of the situation even if they actually have no control of the other stuff.
[Kyle]- Thanks Lynette. Last question here, somewhat similar but looks like more of a one to one idea here, “Do you have any suggestions or recommended approach for dealing with conflict between people at a different hierarchy level within a company? For example, differing opinions on an idea or a project between a project manager and their management.”
[Dr. LR]- Yeah and that could go either way. I’m not sure if—if you’re the employee and there’s a manager, obviously we have to do what our managers tell us to do, you know, for the most part. That’s kind of the way it works in a hierarchy. If you’re an employee and you have these great ideas and your manager is not wanting to listen to them, you may not have an option for getting it but what I usually tell people when they’re in that employee and management situation is that the best thing to do, from what I’ve seen, is to, like I’ve said, keep that blameless going for yourself cause it’s kind of a personal development gift for yourself that you’re able to not get upset and frustrated, that you can stay calm knowing that you’re staying in that blameless conflict management style even if your boss isn’t. Also, document things a lot. Make sure you have written documentation of things.
I run into a lot of people where there’s a conflict between the manager and the employee and the manager likes to blame the employee even though it’s not the employee’s fault. With situations like that, I always say make sure you document and just try to keep moving forward. And there again, every situation is different but each person has to decide at what level it is finally—they’re in a culture that’s not going to allow them to deal with conflict in the management style that they want to for the entire organization. You can always do it for yourself but you can’t make an organization do that type of blameless—unless you’re the boss. And then you can say, “Hey everybody. This is how we’re gonna do it. And if anybody has a conflict, here’s the way that I want you to come into it.”
I think that speaks to the whole innovation thing that I was talking about. If you have someone who has a lot of great ideas and their manager won’t let them express it and they’re using more fracturing conflict management, then people are going to start to feel disengaged and disconnected. You have to kind of see how you’re going to balance that.
That’s about the best answer I can give in three minutes. [laughs] Cause there’s a whole process to that.
[Kyle]- We appreciate it, Lynette. Thanks for taking the questions and thanks to those of you that sent them over. That pretty much takes us to the end point of the session here. Lynette, do you have anything else before we close out for today?
[Dr. LR]- No. The only thing I would say is that if anybody is interested or has a question that they would like a more specific answer to—they should feel free to email me. I’ll put my email address and then my website. Also, for anyone who is interested and, either way this is a really old book, on Amazon I actually have a book, it’s a paperback that’s about ten dollars that actually has the model that I designed that helps in dealing with all of these things that have to do with culture, conflict, things like that, if somebody was wanting to delve a little deeper into it. It’s a pretty quick read. That would be a good resource for somebody who’s wanting to learn more about it.
[Kyle]- Great. Thanks Lynette and thanks for your time and sharing with us today. I did shout out the link to your article, published on MPUG. The Five…
[Dr. LR-interrupts]- Oh perfect.
[Kyle]- The Five Tips For Dealing With Conflict In Project Management. Everyone should have that link in the chat box there.