The New Year is not just a time for thinking about our bucket list and what you want to do, but who you want to be as a person. That includes how we want to be together in our teams and communities.
Over the break I escaped the cut and thrust of life, got out into the natural world, and reflected on what brings me true peace and contentment. Interestingly it wasn’t more stuff, more possessions or even more achievements.
If I have one wish for 2018, it is that we learn to be more human with each other, more curious, more tolerant and more related. That’s my vision and commitment.
And for that to happen – then it means growing and learning, about ourselves and each other. It involves understanding more about what we value and being able to separate those inherent voices and messages which no longer serve us, and those that do to uncover true wisdom.
I feel shy to say it, but if I speak personally it will also mean understanding more about what I need in life, so I am not like a bear with a sore head, when I’ve neglected my own needs, by getting too caught up in the ‘doing’ of life. And then there is the shadow side, understanding our own triggers, the things that turn us from loving, reasonable humans into primitive beasts.
We are privileged at CLE to work with both individuals and teams committed to improving their relationships. We coach many individuals who are tackling long established tendencies, that undermine their workplace relationships and the potential they bring to their roles. I recently spoke with an aspiring leader, who mentioned that as he emerged as a leader, one of the things he dreaded most was the thought of managing someone like himself. He recognised that his tendency to fight those in power no longer served him and that he needed to learn new ways of engaging others and managing his fears of being let down.
The New Year can be a great time for addressing those nagging tensions that we typically avoid in our teams and working relationships. This can be done directly by pointing directly to the problems … or indirectly by working toward behavioural and cultural change through a range of approaches.
One of the greatest contributors to difficult escalated workplace conflicts is avoidance – allowing things to build up until there are dramatic confrontations or people are walking out the door. People don’t intentionally allow things to get worse, rather they are nervous about doing the wrong thing, or opening up a can of worms. When it comes to approaching workplace conflict, careful consideration is needed as to the best way to proceed. As conflict management consultants, we support our clients through a rigorous assessment process, before launching in where angels fear to tread.
We routinely coach leaders as they plot a course for managing workplace conflicts, helping them to find a way forward that fits with what they know about themselves and their teams. A balance needs to be found, between working in ways that will allow individuals where possible to save face, managing emotions and working in a way that is meaningful and effective.
A balance needs to be found between working in ways that allow individuals where possible to save face, manage emotions and working in a way that gets to the heart of concerns, enough to be meaningful and effective.
Often a combination of coaching for individuals and team-based sessions which reinforce a shared common focus work well. Developing team charters and agreements, without the benefit of coaching to address core issues is frequently not enough, as it skims the surface and tends to be regarded by staff as tokenistic, reinforcing the sense that tensions are to be suppressed rather than dealt with.
We are blessed to be working in a field that reflects so closely our own personal values. I deeply resonate with the view of Cinnie Noble, the founder of CINERGY® Conflict Management Coaching, that Peace Building occurs one conversation at a time. Sometimes the conversations that bring us peace are with co-workers or significant others, while at other times they are with a trusted advisor or coach. Usually they are conversations that reconnect us with our best selves and help us work through the messes that are also part of being human.
With this is mind, I wish you peace in 2018.