I have seen a couple of sunsets in employment and realised that the greatest source of strength … and conflict … in the workplace is …. wait for it … PEOPLE!
Employees represent quite a kaleidoscope of diversity in values, beliefs, social backgrounds, thought patterns, moral views … you name it. This cacophony of personal and professional attributes is more than likely to create a sticky situation or two every now and then.
Rita Friedman, a Philadelphia-based career coach, contributes towards this perspective by saying that “as with any place full of interpersonal relationships, a workplace can be rife with a wide range of conflicts. There are the work-specific problems related to promotions, salary disparity, lack of recognition for achievement, or shared responsibility among a team. There are also more general issues with personal space and privacy; and then there are plain old personality conflicts.”
Now imagine a scenario whereby the person you are in conflict with is … your BOSS!
In some cases, your boss will be understanding and will work with you to eliminate the conflict. All is well!
In other cases, he or she might take offence and make matters worse. It’s important to know what makes your supervisor tick and realize that doing nothing resolves nothing so it’s worth taking a risk and speaking directly to them to potentially fix the problem.
So … if you chose to approach your boss to work through the thorny issues, you may want to consider the following advice:
Think about solutions before you approach the boss – do not burden him with problems.
Calculate the risks and chose your options wisely.
Know your timing – bad news is not well received in bad seasons.
Ask for help and consult widely.
Take the boss out to lunch – if this is applicable to your situation.
Be prepared by covering all bases in the issue at hand.
Make sure your side of the street is clean – don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house.
Admit fault – where necessary.
Be willing to take advice and be open to suggestions.
As Thomas Paine once said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”