A Guide for Dealing with Conflicts in Corporate Life to Keep Your Sanity!
By Kathy Hadizadeh
Have you ever watched two people quarrel? Have you seen how two people can be stuck in a conflict for a long period of time? Do you always feel how unnecessarily unproductive this situation is?
We can all admit that such situations in the workplace are not only unproductive but also HARD. It is hard on emotions not only for people involved but also for other team members.
Now, that we have established the premise of the challenge, let’s look into how to deal with it.
Recall a time someone mistreated you, let you down, did not show up, forgot to deliver on a promise, made an error, spoke harshly, did not have the right skills, or affected you negatively even if that was not their intention. If the person refuses to admit fault, how do you feel? Probably dismayed, frustrated, uneasy, distanced, less willing to trust, and more importantly DEFENSIVE.
What is actually happening?
The relationship is getting stuck.
Because you believe in your heart that there is unadmitted fault.
On the other hand, if this person had admitted the fault. What would that look like?
Probably pretty well! When someone admits fault, it allows us to feel safer and we can act warmer towards them. We can even be willing to help them learn or get better.
It feels pretty simple so why is it so hard to resolve?
The problem is that is real world, it is hard for people to accept their faults. It is also hard for people to communicate on how they hurt when they are stuck. So, it becomes a complicated situation.
When we are hurt and stuck, we get saturated with negative emotions like anger, bias toward our own viewpoint, and full of me-me-me. We think of the situation and we start getting worked up, adding to the bad effects of chronic stress which exacerbates the situation.
It not only impacts us but also creates awkwardness with other peers, since even though they support us, they’re naturally leery of getting sucked into our strong feelings or into this conflict with the other person. It makes us look bad and too stuck about things in the past. And it primes us for overreactions in meetings and other occasions when the other person is present.
How to go past this situation?
Ask yourself: Is it worth it? Do I have any role in the situation?
Start by reminding yourself how it is in your own best interest to admit fault and move on. You need to clear up that air. It is not serving you and you don’t have control over the other person. We might think that admitting fault is weak or that it lets the other person off the hook for their faults. But actually, it takes a strong person to admit fault, and it puts us in a stronger position with others. Plus it might allow them to come forward and admit their own fault as they will feel safe with you.
If you are ready to take action, here is your checklist:
Be clear and specific in your own mind as to what the fault is – and what is not a fault. You are the judge of what your fault is.
Admit the fault directly. Be simple and direct. It’s alright to express the context of the fault – like you were tired – but avoid justifying the fault. Justification will stir up the situation in a different direction.
Try to be empathic and compassionate about the consequences of your fault for the other person. This is NOT easy so remind yourself why this is good for you to do!
Stay on the topic of your fault for a reasonable amount of time. Don’t jump quickly to the faults of the other person.
Don’t let the other person repetitively pound you for your fault after you’ve admitted it.
Make a commitment inside your mind, and perhaps to the other person, not to do this fault again.
When it feels right, disengage from discussing your fault. You may even bring up ways the other person could help you in not doing the fault in the future (e.g., waking up kids early in the morning can help with dinner NOT yell at the kids). Or bring up a fault of the other person.
You inner work is to monitor yourself after you admitted fault: Do I feel guilt? Do I see self- criticism? Does this make me inadequate?If you said yes to any of these, we need to look into practicing self-compassion and building inner peace next.
“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
Lewis B. Smedes
About the author:Kathy Hadizadeh, MSc, PCC, EQAC is the founder of Heart Mind Tuning in Los Angeles and a former IT executive. Heart Mind Tuning is a coaching and consulting agency focused on human potential development and performance optimization. She is a certified integral life, leadership, and executive development coach by New Ventures West. Kathy is also a certified neuroscience based emotional intelligence and mindful leadership consultant by Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI). Kathy builds on two Masters in Engineering and Management and 15+ years of experience leading technology initiatives in the corporate world across multiple industries with several Fortune 500 companies. After a life-changing event in 2015, Kathy embarked on a journey to combine her background in systems thinking and her track record in mind body connection, to develop methods that amplify effectiveness of leaders and boosts innovation in teams.