Monday, November 14, 2016
The One Word That Can Resolve Workplace Conflict
Anyone who has a toddler probably hears this no less than 1,400 times per day. (And don't tell me you don't resort to "Because I said so!" because everyone reaches that point on the 475th "why?")
While children are great at asking the question, they often grow out of asking "why" all the time.
We as adults could benefit greatly if we'd just add a few more "whys" to our days.
A recent lecture by Stanford Graduate School of Business organizational behavior professor Lindred Greer looked at problems with top-down team structures. Some of those problems included less participation, influence from the wrong people and not enough conflict.
Not enough conflict? Who wants conflict at work?
Well, it seems that conflict is good for us, she says. We need to be challenged by others who think differently than us.
The solution? More people asking "why."
Leaders need to ask "why" of team members to get them to reach deeper into their thinking. Colleagues need to ask "why" of one another so that they get to the heart of the matter and find out why people really think as they do.
Everyone needs to have a voice at work. In order to come up with more innovative ideas and better solutions, teams need to be more collaborative with other departments. That means IT needs to work with marketing. Sales needs to work with distribution. Customer service needs to work with operations.
There will be some conflict, for sure. Everyone is going to be coming from a different perspective and experience, but as long as they keeping asking "why" -- and listening carefully to the responses -- that conflict will become a positive driver of better bottom-line results and positive workplace relationships.