Conflict is unavoidable, in life and at work. At some point in your career, you’ll disagree with a coworker about something that’s important to both of you, and find yourself trying to resolve the situation so that everyone wins. (Or at least so that the company hits its goals and your team can still function.)
When the stakes are high — when a valuable client is involved, for instance — resolving conflict is tougher. In this week’s roundup, we look at expert advice for dealing with that tricky situation, plus how to set better goals with your boss’s help, and how to deal with the office bully.
Farnoosh Brock at Prolific Living: How to Address Conflict When the Stakes Are High
In this video, Brock proposes two approaches for dealing with high-stakes conflict at work.
“The first one when conflict arises in a relationship that matters to you is you take the step forward and begin to address it and the way you do that is you find the common purpose, or rather you redefine the common purpose,” she says. “You and your partner had a common purpose, a common goal before you went into this partnership.”
Reminding each other (and yourself) of that common purpose might help, she says. Learn more — and another approach to the problem — at her blog.
What’s the first thing you need to look at, when you’re setting goals? Whether your numbers are realistic. No sense in setting the bar higher than you can possibly hope to hit.
If you’re following the SMART goal methodology (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound), you should be attempting to attach numbers to your goals. For example, you may set a goal that you’d like to close 5 sales per month or improve your processing time for a particular task by 20%.
Before committing to those numbers, find out if your boss agrees that they are realistic. Remember, you should be aiming for something that is achievable with effort. It’s great to set stretch goals that really push you past the point of comfort, but you don’t want to verge into impossible territory.
Find out what else you should bring up with the boss, here.
Anita Bruzzese at On the Job: How to Stop the Bully at Work
Why do grownups bully each other, long after school’s out for good? It’s probably not low self-esteem, one expert says.
Dr. Mary Lamia, a clinical psychologist and professor, writes that people often think that bullies have low self esteem, but they’re really just people who are acting out because of internalized shame. She explains that bullies attack others “to take away their shame — which allows them to remain unaware of their feelings.”
I’ve often seen bullies attack those who are competent at their jobs. Lamia explains that when bullies fear looking incompetent, then they attack others. So, if you’re doing a great job and are competent at your job, you could become the target for a bully who sees you as a threat.
So, what do you do if you’re dealing with an office bully? These tips can help.
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