Learning to deal with conflict is a continuing process for me. In most situations I take on the conflict head on, instead of ignoring it. It may be because I am an introvert, Italian, a combination or just slow learning.
In all my years in sales and sales management, there was enough axe grinding among co-workers to kill a forest.
It turns out, several studies point to manager’s spending a good deal of time managing conflict. Like about 42% of their time.
Can you hear more trees falling?
There are many causes for workplace conflict occurring naturally from different department goals and job roles. When you mix in a person’s different needs, values and styles, is it any mystery why introverts and extroverts may have times they just cannot get along?
Not all conflict is worth confronting. Even though it’s not necessarily an easy decision to make, try a few questions if you are not certain about confronting or walking away. Here are just a couple when you have a conflict:
- If you look back at a particular aggravating situation in a month, or a year, will it matter? If you can say it won’t matter, then expending the time and energy to resolve it may not be worth it.
- Are there other people who might be hurt in some way if you don’t deal with the situation? If co-workers, family or friends are involved, then maybe you have to wave the introvert strengths into the situation and step up to handling things.
One common type of workplace conflict happens when people of different styles are tasked with completing a job – together. As introverts if we are matched with an extrovert you might anticipate some issues like, we are usually most productive working in solitary. The extrovert might want to include even more people in the project.
Naturally, both people are going to have some emotions if there is conflict: they may feel stress, frustration, even resentment. This could mean, the best approach to most effective conflict resolution, is to balance our intellect with our emotional intelligence, often referred to as EQ.
Some statistics conclude that 85% of dismissals in the U.S. are from personality conflicts. Even if these are less than substantiated, what is substantiated is the amount of time we spend in the workplace dealing with conflict: 2 hour a week for employees and 42% of management time.
Recognizing both the intellectual and emotional side of the problem are key to successful resolution.
While there is no magic wand to dissolve the inevitable workplace conflict, with our introvert strengths of listening more, thinking things through, and talking after thinking, we can put away that axe to grind.
As you assess a particular situation, because as an introvert we cannot help but go into analyze mode, don’t get stuck in the muck. Decide if the return on your time and energy investment is worth it.
If you do move forward, have some options available like collaborating, accommodating, even ignoring, to choose when and how to confront the situation.
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