By: Phyllis Class, RN, Executive Director, Allied Health CE at Gannett Education
Phyllis has 25 years of management experience. She still hates drama.
Fresh out of retorts and with my back against the wall, I finally called a stalemate by uttering the “W” word. Even the manager who pushed me to the edge that day so long ago confessed that he knew the battle was over when I declared, “Whatever!”
There are places where you should say what you think, but the workplace is often not one of them. But then what are the alternatives? Diplomacy, “I” statements, a cooling-off period, deep breathing and yoga classes are merely coping mechanisms for facing a difficult professional situation. Dealing with team members of various disciplines and with different personalities can be challenging, to say the least. And as a manager, I often wonder if I’m being fair and objective when I find myself in the middle of such a situation.
In nursing school, we studied obstetrics, pediatrics and med/surg, but nobody ever taught us how to get along with other people. My journalism classes stressed the Five Ws — who, what, why, when and where — but did not explain how to play nice in the sandbox. I got by with my “Why Can’t We All Get Along?” philosophy of human interaction. I just hate drama.
Apparently, I’m not alone. Research shows that 60% to 80% of an organization’s conflict results from frayed employee relationships, not from lack of skill or motivation.1 And the Washington Business Journal reported in 2005 that the typical manager spends from 25% to 40% of his or her time dealing with workplace conflict. What a waste of time.
Along the way, I’ve learned that “whatever” is not a solution. The following courses contain strategies that have helped me navigate the shark-infested waters of conflict. After all, we could all use a little help along the way.
Courses to Help Navigate you Through Shark-Infested Waters of Conflict:
Don’t Worry, Be Happy! Harmonize Diversity Through Personality Sensitivity
Creating a personality sensitive workplace can help to promote harmony.
Staying Cool Under Fire: How Well Do You Communicate?
Learn how to manage workplace communication challenges by employing strategies to communicate with angry people.
Surviving and Thriving with Conflict on the Job
To effectively deal with workplace conflict, learn about its dynamics.
The Rap on Rapport: The Door to Therapeutic Communication
Explore the dynamics of rapport, including the use of body language.
1 Dana D. Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home. 4th ed. Prairie Village, Kansas: MTI Publishers; 2005.