By Carol Cook
There is never a dull moment in the office; whether it's negotiating uncomfortable conversations or helping people through conflict, there are always going to be challenging situations that come up. The manner in which you respond to these challenges will have a significant impact on the disposition of those who work in your office. Will the office be a place where you and your team are able to freely communicate and work, or will it be an environment that stifles innovation and functions out of fear of discipline? Each and every place of employment is made up of flawed people who try their best and have noble goals, but who will still unavoidably fail, struggle, or cause conflict. Mistakes happen, blunders will be made, and feelings could get hurt. If you have a strategy in place for how you will react to these occurrences and minimize the damage they cause, you will be well on your way to creating a productive and harmonious atmosphere at work.
When confronted with challenging situations, you might want to give one or more of the following five tried-and-true tactics a shot:
1. Practice Patience
When confronted with a challenging scenario, such as dealing with an irate employee or a cranky customer, it is important to remember to take a few deep breaths and focus solely on listening to what is being said. In many cases, the situation will de-escalate on its own if you can make the individual you are talking with feel as though they have been heard by you. You are feeding the part of those around you that yearns to be seen and appreciated when you show patience and give them ample space to air their grievances and vent their frustrations (even if you believe they are unfounded or if you disagree with them). This is because we all have a deep-seated desire to be recognized and valued for who we are. After they have finished speaking, you should first take a time to collect your own thoughts, then you should calmly rephrase what they said to you, and then, you should work with them to find a solution that is satisfactory for all parties involved.
2. Nurture an attitude of gratitude
It is possible that you will be astonished by the degree to which the attitudes of everyone in your workplace improve if you are successful in establishing a culture of gratitude in the workplace. When you acknowledge the achievements of your staff members and let them know how much you value the hard work they put in, it will help them feel valued and will often help build a spirit of excitement and congeniality, which acts like a hedge of protection against the small, everyday inconveniences and irritations that can arise.
3. Accept the Consequences
It is important that as the leader of your company you set an example for those who are looking up to you, even though it can be tempting to sweep conflict under the rug, especially if you personally dislike conflict. However, it is important that you set an example for those who are looking up to you. Confronting problems head-on is preferable to acting as though they do not exist. When you let things fester beneath the surface for a longer period of time, the sentiments of resentment and irritation will grow to a greater intensity.
Clients and employees who believe that they have been overlooked or that their needs have not been met may rapidly become irate and vent their frustrations to others in a loud and public manner. This can lead to a dense haze of resentment and backbiting, which in turn lowers productivity and prevents work-life harmony from being achieved. Confronting problems directly on as soon as you become aware of them is the most effective method to put a stop to this as soon as it starts. Do not allow them to become anything enormous and bothersome if you can help it. Have a difficult talk if it's necessary, but do your best to get to the bottom of things as quickly as you can.
4. Make yourself a sandwich out of positivity.
This method has been adopted by instructors and coaches for a number of years; it is really straightforward, and mastery of it requires very little to no practice or prior preparation at all. To begin, you must determine the topic, issue, or conduct that needs to be brought up in conversation or brought to the attention of a certain person. The next step in the process is to construct the sandwich by thinking of something positive to say before the challenging topic of discussion and something else positive to say immediately after the challenging section of the conversation.
If, for instance, you need to criticize an employee for their pattern of arriving late for work, you can choose to begin the conversation by reiterating how valuable the person is to the success of the business by pointing out how often they are late. After that, you can have a conversation with them about how important it is to be on time. After that, you may bring the discussion to a close by expressing your gratitude to the individual for the significant role that they play on the team. The vast majority of people strive to achieve happiness in others and will react favorably to this process. You are still participating in the painful but necessary correction, and you are doing it in a way that still points out excellence in that person and validates their importance to your organization. Despite the fact that you are doing this, the correction is still necessary.
5. Pinpoint Personalities
Everyone has a distinct character and point of view; the more you can learn about the people in your immediate environment, including where they are coming from and how they make sense of the world, the more accurately you will be able to predict how they will react to different scenarios and positively influence their behavior. If you know, for instance, that one of your workers is extremely analytical and processes information slowly and methodically, you will be aware that you should not require them to take the lead on projects that require spontaneous and freewheeling thought because you will know that they are not equipped to handle the responsibility.
Putting employees in a position where they can succeed, also known as playing to their strengths, is a guaranteed method to cultivate a climate of collaboration and positivity in your place of business. Think about giving everyone on your team a personality test, then compiling the results into a report that can be distributed to everyone. The more capable everyone is of productively collaborating with one another, the less likely it is that you will find yourself having to manage disagreements in the first place.
You could want to begin this week by analyzing the personalities of each member of your team and coming up with some actions that you can do in the future to make the most of each person's unique set of skills.
When I'm working one-on-one with customers, I end up creating a lot of tools that are both easy to use and highly successful. When a problem or predicament arises, I devise a solution or resource tool to assist the person in question in achieving an even more favorable outcome. As an illustration, the client that I coach who owns a business wanted to improve the degree to which he held his support crew accountable, so I developed a tool for performance evaluation. This makes it easier to maintain continuous communication with every member of the team about the specific performance of the tasks that fall under their purview. It gives the member of the team a positive feeling about their development, and it gives the owner of the firm a more secure feeling about what is being done and at what level of performance it is being done. Utilizing this straightforward and efficient method of evaluating each member of your team's performance will yield benefits for you, just as it has for the clients I've worked with in the past. Personalize it for each member of your team according to their job description, and then distribute it. To be more particular, every member of the team should personalize it to their preferences, and you should provide the final approval. Set a meeting to discuss the progress you have made in each of the areas you are measuring once every three months.