A large part of my work is dealing with Conflict, Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace.
I’m really excited to launch 3 blogs on this subject titled:
- Non-Judgement within Conflict
- Courage in Conflict
- Managing Emotions in Conflict
If you are experiencing conflict in your workplace that has it resulted in:
- Loss of Productivity
- Low Morale
- Poor Teamwork
- Poor communications and relationships
- High Absenteeism
- High Turnover
- Lack of Creativity and Problem Solving
- Low levels of Engagement or
- Lack of brand loyalty
I hope to address some of these issues within these blogs.
Managing Emotions in Conflict
Many people hold the view that when we go to work our emotions should be left at the door. I don’t believe this is valid in today’s workplaces and I hold the view that all leaders have a responsibility to manage emotions when having challenging conversations at work.
This is an important aspect to conflict resolution and today I’m going to share 3 strategies to help you manage emotions in conflict.
- Preserve the Other Person’s Dignity. The late Robert Plutchik, professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, created a ‘Wheel of Emotions’ to show that emotions follow a path. What can start out as a minor annoyance can move to frustration and anger, and in extreme cases, escalate to rage. We can avoid this escalation of emotions by preserving the other person’s dignity and treating them with respect, even if we totally disagree with them.
A leader who has high emotional intelligence is always mindful to preserve the relationship. It can take years to build trust and forge strong working relationships and moments to tear them apart. Always be mindful not to do or say anything that will damage a relationship beyond repair.
- Acknowledge Emotions. When we are in the heat of challenging conversations, hormones and emotions can course through us. A great strategy for dealing with emotions that come up, you own or the others, is to acknowledge them and name them as early as possible instead of ignoring them and pretending they’re not there. When faced with tears, offer the person a tissue and give them a chance to gather their thoughts. Acknowledge that the tears communicate a problem to be addressed.
- Remain Calm. Pay attention to what’s happening inside you. Become familiar with the signals that let you know emotion is rising. Only you know what is going on inside you so it’s important to know when you’re fight or flight reaction is about to kick in. Things to watch for can include; faster and more shallow breathing, your heart rate going up, heat or perspiration rising in your body or maybe it’s your jaw clenching or a tightening in your solar plexes. Whatever it is for you, when things are turning up physiologically it becomes more difficult to gain access to your best self as oxygen leaves the frontal cortex and heads for our muscles as the fight or flight signal kicks in.
So, what can you do? The simplest strategy to adopt when you notice this is happening is to take a few deep breaths. As you do, your body and mind will calm down and return you to a cool, calm and collected state.
It’s also helpful to watch for these signals in others as they indicate that you could potentially be heading for tricky waters. When you do notice shifts in others such as a shift in body weight, a crossing of arms or a sudden barrage of questions, be mindful not to react.
When you can remain calm you also help others to do the same so it’s well worth practicing taking a few deep breaths to help you stay in your body and out of reactive mode.
I will be speaking more about this in my three Complementary Video Tutorials which I’m launching on May 1st. If you are interested in getting these into your inbox you can go to my website www.HRwithHarte.com. On the website home page, you can subscribe to the blog and you will automatically be registered for the free training videos.
If you would like immediate assistance with resolving conflict in your workplace you can contact me at:
Or Tel: (087) 2388250