Dr. Jason’s Speak Life™ Newsletter – Volume 8 Issue 3
Inside This Issue
• Resolving Conflict in the Workplace
• Message from the President
• Consulting Focus: Continuing Education
• Industry Perspectives
Resolving Conflict in the Workplace
Conflict is a normal and natural part of any workplace environment. Unaddressed, workplace conflict can lead to lower morale, increased absenteeism and decreased productivity. The key is to manage the conflict properly when it occurs. It has been estimated that managers spend at least 25 percent of their time resolving workplace conflicts, resulting in decreased office performance.
Unresolved or unmanaged conflict can quickly escalate and impede an organization’s progress, as people lose focus on the organizational goals. If not managed properly, conflict can affect the profitability and sustainability of the business. Therefore, ignoring it can be costly.
Communication is both the cause of and the remedy for much conflict at work. Differing communication styles can lead to misunderstandings. Understanding how to effectively communicate, and how to effectively resolve disputes, can lead to greater fulfillment and productivity. Communication and conflict resolution skills must be learned and developed. As these skills are learned, it becomes easier to address conflicts when they happen. A compromise is often the best solution.
The ultimate goal is always to achieve a positive resolution to conflict. In doing so, the following steps are important:
• Identifying the cause or causes of the conflict – Without knowing the root of the conflict, there can never be a resolution.
• Listening carefully – Listening to all parties is essential. For understanding to take place, everyone must hear the perspectives of each side involved.
• Dealing with conflict immediately – There should not be a reluctance to address conflict. It must not have time to fester. The conflict must not be given time to escalate into something unmanageable.
• Viewing conflict as an opportunity – Conflict can be a chance for growth and learning for an organization and for individuals.
• Ensuring resolution – Every possible step should be taken to make sure the conflict is resolved. When all is said and done, unity and cohesion should exist.
Conflict cannot be eliminated completely, but it can be resolved when it arises. By actively resolving conflict when it occurs, organizations can create a more positive work environment for everyone. It will also prepare the team for the next conflict, which is sure to arise. The end result will be a healthy workplace where productivity is maximized.
Message from the President
“…Opportunities are not available at all times.”
During this month, Daylight Savings Time begins. In most of the country, we set our clocks forward one hour in order to benefit from the maximum amount of sunlight during the day. The saying goes, “we spring ahead”. The first few days after the time change can be challenging, as our bodies adjust to losing that initial hour of sleep and a new schedule. Soon, however, that initial discomfort fades, and we enjoy the benefits of extended daylight hours to accomplish our many daily tasks.
We must also take advantage of opportunities as they come along. Like sunlight, opportunities are not available at all times. In order to benefit from them, we must be ready when they present themselves. Preparation is a key component to a successful leader’s routine. There is no substitute for good preparation.
How are you preparing for the opportunities you are seeking? What you do now will put you in the best position to seize the next opportunity when it presents itself in the daylight.
Consulting Focus: Continuing Education
Continuous learning is about the constant expansion of skills and skill sets through learning and increasing knowledge. As life changes, so does the need to adapt both professionally and personally. Often for career advancement to occur, additional learning is needed beyond what was required to obtain the position in the first place. The lack of continuing learning causes many employees to become stagnant in their careers and never achieve the maximum fulfillment available.
Learning should be a lifelong process. It does not end upon graduation from any academic level. The world around us is constantly changing, and if we do not change with it, we will be left behind. The skill sets that were required only a few years ago may now be obsolete. Many jobs require licensing that must remain current. In order to remain competitive, additional education is required. The best opportunities will be available to those who have pursued additional training and knowledge in areas that will advance their careers.
Many healthy organizations provide in-house training opportunities for team members. Others have programs that reimburse employees for tuition costs associated with academic pursuits, as long as they earn a certain grade or grade point average. Whether or not the organization offers continuing education or reimbursement, the onus lies with each employee to take the necessary steps to position him or herself for the best possible future.
Online learning has made it easy and convenient for many workers to obtain certifications or degrees that once required extensive classroom time. Courses are available at the convenience of the student. Today’s colleges are full of non-traditional students who work full time and attend classes on a part-time basis. It is never too late for self-improvement through continuing education.
After selecting the right consultant for your business or organization, it is important to make efficient use of his or her time. Having a good plan helps to accomplish this. Without careful planning, valuable time and resources can be wasted. Communication is also a key factor in this process. The team must provide understanding of the group’s needs to the consultant. Good communication also allows for creativity on the part of the consultant. If all of the solutions existed internally, there would be no need to engage a consultant. Future legal issues can also be minimized or eliminated when healthy dialogue occurs and expectations are set. Regular evaluations can be utilized as well to assess the effectiveness of the consultant on the organization. Working together, the organization and the consultant can achieve success.