Conflict in the Workplace

Can’t we all just get along

When I was in my early 20’s I worked with a woman  (we’ll call her Gail) who was bent on making my life difficult (at least that’s what if felt like at the time).  She had been promoted and I had been hired to replace her.  Gail was older,  and I suspect my new approach to doing her former job was threatening.  Her favorite expression was “I’ve been doing it this way for years.” (In retrospect her comment was a clue that she valued tradition and which today would have lead me to believe she might relate to  True Colors Gold).  Sufficed to say, Gail wanted me to do things her way, and not wanting to create too many waves, I accepted her suggestions, naively believing that in time, her interest in my work would fade. But six months into the job, her advice had become daily directives, which I found downright annoying.  I relate to True Colors Orange .

Conflict is any situation in which your concerns or desires differ from those of another person.

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It was obvious that Gail  didn’t appreciate my new, and frankly more efficient way of doing things.  Our working relationship deteriorated quickly and I resorted to  creative ways of avoiding her.

Our growing conflict wasn’t an office secret either.  One morning a colleague told me that Gail had been ‘poking’ around my desk after hours.  I found that rather odd, and when I checked the work I had been doing the previous day, I discovered that  Gail had tampered with some of my work.  Needless to say I was livid, and, when I confronted her about it, our conversation quickly escalated to a loud and public argument.

Hopeful that our Supervisor would help resolve things,  I sought out her support.  However she, was neither sympathetic nor helpful.  Her best and only suggestion was to find a way to get along with Gail –  “after all she had so much more experience.”

The tension between Gail and I continued for several more months until, one afternoon, after yet another heated disagreement,  I quit.

 We all use a range of conflict styles based on our skills and on the demands of the situation at hand

In the years between then and now, I realize that I wasn’t equipped to deal with workplace conflict and neither was our supervisor.  All I knew how to do was to defend myself, and when I felt I couldn’t do that I gave up.

Today there are many options for dealing with conflict in the workplace and my ‘Conflict Management Workshop’ is one such option.

The Conflict Management Workshop is designed to help participants learn how and when to use different approaches to managing conflict and more specifically to:

  • Expand their self awareness
  • Develop awareness of others
  • Assess conflict situations, and
  • learn and apply new skills

Take a look at our Workshop options, then contact Gillian to discuss your specific needs.

Or… if you don’t  know what your True Colors are, find out now by taking our assessment here 

The better able team members are to engage, speak, listen, hear, interpret, and respond constructively, the more likely their teams are to leverage conflict rather than be leveled by it”

Runde and Flan

Gillian Andries, is a Life & Career Coach and a certified True Colors facilitator


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