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, how to respond appropriately to difficult situations, and how to reduce conflict before it happens.
As part of the workshop, participants were given a homework exercise that I like to use in various programs and for my coaching clients. I asked them to think of a few work-related things for which they are grateful. I welcomed their submissions, and when shared with the whole class, it reminded everyone to stop and notice what is going right. Below are some of their responses:
- Knowing that I have helped someone during very stressful times.
- Friendly, happy faces to say good morning to.
- Really good open communication during this time, so no one feels out of the loop.
- I love the atmosphere and welcoming environment that my coworkers and I have created.
- That I have autonomy in planning my day and have freedom to adjust to work on higher priorities when necessary.
- The availability of the latest technology and equipment to do our jobs (at work and at home).
- Great IT Team that is patient and willing to train – especially appreciated NOW.
- Working in an environment that values work ethic and accountability.
- Everyone being very helpful and kind.
- Blue skies and sunshine!
What is going right in your workplace today?
The election got me thinking about the many job transitions that are happening in the DC area right now and I thought of one of my own. Many years ago, I started a new job at a regional bank. On my first day as an Assistant Vice President for Training and Development, I was greeted with smiles, handshakes, and a handwritten letter on my desk. Susan Middleton, my predecessor, left me notes on my desk, in binders, and literally all over the place.
There were notes outlining the budget, notes about projects started but not completed, and notes about ideas she had about future programming. Susan left a legacy when she left her job and I understood why she was so respected throughout the organization. What can we all learn from Susan?
- When you leave a job, leave information. Leave notes, keys, passwords, documents, hints.
- If you aren’t crazy about your boss, and that’s part of why you are leaving, remember that the organization signed your paycheck, not your boss.Your role is to help the organization prosper.
- If your organization does exit interviews, and I hope it does, tell the truth, but tell your truth kindly and respectfully. If you choose to write on a job-rating site, again, be truthful of your experience, but say it professionally.
- Write thank you notes. Let the folks who helped you know that you appreciate them.
- Remember that when you leave, your reputation stays.
- In every job there are people who you formed a connection with or who helped you succeed. Use LinkedIn to stay connected with those colleagues as your and their lives change.
- And if you haven’t done so already, by all means connect with me! And do it now, before you start the business of your new job.
How does your organization encourage smooth transitions?
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?