How to Create a More Positive Workplace: Maintaining Relationships

I conducted a virtual workshop this past fall on creating a more positive workplace. The insights of the thoughtful and engaged participants were so phenomenal that I have been sharing highlights from the program through a series of blogs. There was one detailing what contributes to an ideal workplace, and another on building connections. We then advanced to handling disagreements, discussing some helpful phrases to use in conversations, and how to respond appropriately to difficult situations

Here are some of the take-aways from one of our discussions about handling conflict, focusing on building and maintaining relationships in order to reduce conflict before it happens.  

  • Relationships are not static. Everything you do either builds the relationship stronger or destroys trust.
  • The feedback model of effective communication consists of the statement of an objective fact followed by a clear expression of your feelings.
  • Email should not be used to handle disagreement. You can work on the assumption that email messages will be misconstrued. An in-person conversation is best, but video chat if that is not possible. Use the telephone if visual options are not available. Definitely do not use text.
  • Don’t say anything in an email that you wouldn’t want widely distributed to the general public. 
  • Only say in an email what you would say to a person in a face-to-face setting.
  • Express yourself and don’t hold in your emotions. Your feelings will come out in other, possibly unproductive, ways.

How do you reduce conflict before it happens?

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