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Conflict





March 31st, 2014

Disruptive-Behaviour-In-Meetings.jpgJust like the disruptive kids in a classroom, members of your team who are disruptive in meetings can distract, at best, and even worse undermine your authority, the organization and it’s goals. Disruptive behaviour vary widely, ranging from: ringing cell phones, answering e-mail or text messages, talking with other team members rather than focusing on the meeting, talking over others when they are talking, or making confrontational statements. When a team member is disruptive, distracts others, or doesn’t have the organization s best interests at heart the situation needs to be dealt with quickly and without giving the disruptor further cause to be a problem. How you deal with the issue will depend on the situation.

Ignoring the Problem

Sometimes the best way to deal with an individual who is misbehaving is to ignore their unacceptable behaviour and reward the good behaviour of others. A firm look which conveys your displeasure and unwillingness to engage with them will indicate how you feel about the distractions, and enable you to engage with the others so that the meeting continues to be productive.

Dealing with Disruptive Behaviour

If the problem persists and subtle hints aren’t heeded, it may be time to talk about the way things are going. One excellent strategy is to save 10 minutes at the end of every meeting for a team wrap-up or checkout. Ask everyone how they felt the meeting went and what could help things move more efficiently next time. Mention your concerns in a general way, such as saying that you expect the rule about the use of cell phones during meetings to be honored.

Taking An Individual Aside

Depending on the person, the best route to change behaviour may be a direct conversation outside of meeting time. That way you don’t have to embarrass them or point them out as a bad example to others, but you can let them know that their behaviour isn’t acceptable or helpful. Be clear and non-confrontational about what precisely the problem is and how you expect them to correct it in the future.


February 12th, 2012

 One of the biggest challenges that we all face in our personal and professional lives is dealing with conflict. For many of us, there is nothing that we dread or avoid more! Many of us run away from the conversation, or give in to whomever is the loudest, most forceful, or perhaps, perceived to have the position of power. And later we spend hours reliving the experience, and/or beating ourselves up for caving in. Sound familiar?

 How do you shift from that place of helplessness to a place of comfort, confidence and success in addition to opening the door to a world of possibilities?

The key to turning conflict into possibilities is be centered and focused as you enter into the conversation so that you won’t be hijacked by those fight or flight emotions that rise within us so amazingly quickly when we are confronted by an angry or upset person.

While I don’t profess to be an expert on conflict management, I became increasingly comfortable and confident through the use of a few techniques that I would like to share with you.

 Step 1:

Breathe! As you enter into or are pulled into the interaction, take a few moments to take some deep cleansing breaths to clear your head.

 Step 2:

Continue to breathe and reflect on these simple yet effective questions that will keep you centered AND help to establish a positive outcome for the conversation. A variation on those used in the book, Crucial Conversations, Tools for talking when stakes are high; they are:

 - What do I want for me from this conversation?

- What do I want for others?

- What do I want for this relationship?

 As you stay focused on these questions your goal(s) for the conversation will fall out, and you will feel your anxiety decrease, making it easier to take the next step.

 Step 3:

Get curious about what is going on for you as you enter into the conversation. Ask yourself, what personal triggers might be at play here for you. What buttons is this person pushing that have or will set me off?

What are my assumptions that are coloring how am I perceiving what is being said?

What beliefs am I bringing to the conversation?  (We all have those preconceived ideas or mental models about a situation or the person that cause us to respond or behave in a certain way). Be aware of how they might affect the way you will enter into the conversation.

 Step 4:

Listen; really listen to hear what the other person is saying and what they want from the conversation. (Made easier for you as you are centered and grounded from step 1).

Hold back on that natural urge to jump right in with your response, give the other person the space to talk. Here’s a great short an acronym to help you remember to do this: WAIT!  It stands for Why Am I Talking?

 

Try them out the next time you enter into a difficult conversation, you may not get them all perfect the first or second time round, but keep on practicing and adjust them to fit your style.

These four small steps might seem to be a lot to remember in a short space of time, however, they will help you find your comfort zone in difficult conversations, build confidence in dealing with conflict, and help you discover a world of possibilities!