Take a Cooperative Approach to Conflict Resolution

Many in my fields of competitive intelligence and research have lost their jobs in this tough economy.  While cooperative intelligence skills of leadership, connection and communication don’t guarantee job security, they will help you stand out since many people have lower emotional intelligence: that is they have weak people skills.

I like the cooperative approach shared in Hot Buttons to solve conflicts with colleagues as it’s objective, focuses on constructive communication, and not “who dunnit?:

How did our conflict start? What hot buttons were pressed? Yours? Mine?

Which of your needs are not being met? What are your goals?

What do I need?

What am I doing, saying or not saying that is preventing your goals>

What is the cost of not solving this problem? Specifically…

What are the benefits of resolving the problem? What can I do?

How can we start?

At the heart of any organization is the connection between manager and reporting employees.  To improve the relationship and demonstrate cooperative leadership and promote loyalty consider the following 4 attributes:

Trust – is a two-way street.  Managers and employees need to express confidence in each other.

Respect – recognize your employee’s competence. Show thanks and appreciation for your employee’s work, in a note, a conversation…

Inclusion – include employee’s opinions and welfare in decisions that affect him/her.

Fairness – give all an equal opportunity to be successful. Be even handed, impartial and objective.

42-18327996Another pet peave I have is that many managers don’t give good feedback to their employees during their quarterly or annual review process.  Lousy feedback, lack of feedback or the destructive delivery of feedback is a form of disrespect and maddens people.

I had a difficult employee who I had to provide feedback to outside of the annual review process.  She wasn’t pulling her weight, and was certain that her contribution–based on her straight A’s in a decent college–was excellent.  I was at my wit’s end to get her to produce.  How could I cool my heels and get through to this woman?  I started with her place of strength: I complimented her on her wonderful grades and high IQ which caused her to relax and smile.

Then I asked her for the date to get her to realize she was now out of school and while the grades got her this job, production would be the key to keeping it since her co-workers completed their projects in less time.  I also implored her sense of fairness since the other workers had to stay late to finish work that she wasn’t, and she knew she didn’t want that.

We turned it around since we started with her strong point and built on it, and I knew she had a strong sense of fairness towards her co-workers.  She started to produce great work once she had time to digest that I valued her intelligence, and wanted her to apply it at work.

What stories do you have where you turned around a difficult situation?

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