In the throws of conflict we all have cringe-worthy stories of when our actions and words were inappropriate or over-the-top. You know the moment when you say or do something and you immediately think, “CRAP!”
At work recovering from those moments of being a jerk is crucial to your success. What’s more important is team effectiveness that enables success. How do you recover and repair the damage?
Here’s a great place to start.
Look in the mirror. Regardless of who’s in the right, it takes two to have a conflict. If you’re involved look at how you contributed to the problem. Then own it. You’ll need to be clear on that for the follow-up conversation. Because letting it go without a follow-up conversation damages team morale and dynamics. Don’t contribute to destructive behavior.
“I” NOT “You.” Once you’ve owned your part, it’s time to talk with the other person. Soften the conversation by using “I” and NOT “You.” For example, “The other day I was thick-headed and didn’t listen to your side of the story. I’d like to talk further about it so we can move forward.”
Using “You” is like pointing an accusatory finger at the other person. That’s not going to help clean up the mess. Your goal is to talk about what happened so you can move forward.
Face Time. Whatever you do, have the conversation face-to-face. If that’s not physically possible, then do it over the phone or Skype. Email or text is completely inappropriate. Not to mention shows insincerity and insecurity.
Focus on results. If you simply can’t stand the person that’s okay. But you need to work with him. So, focus on the business result you two need to create together and work out a plan on how to reach those goals. Nobody ever said you have to like everyone you work with. But you are paid to achieve results and work alongside those necessary to make that happen.
Strong leaders are less worried about who will make the first move after conflict. Such leaders take to heart the importance of relationships and acting in a manner to maintain their integrity. There is no time to wait for the other person to make the move.
At work you’ve got to work with all types of personalities. The artful leader can work effectively with the crusty to the delightful.