It is no secret that our law office is unconventional. In fact, our preventative law philosophy to business concepts includes many unconventional tools. This month, we have been really focused on the magic of habit change, and its’ impact on both return on investment (ROI) for the company, and as well as a return on the mind/body/spirit balance of its key leaders. This “shift in habit” concept can be broken down into four simple steps. These four steps can help you better address both small and big conflicts in the workplace while adding necessary practices to improve resilience to change. If you want to shift your habits, here are the four ways to do it.
1) Know your response. How do you respond to conflict?
By understanding the different responses to conflict, these natural responses can be transformed into productive ways of dealing with stressful circumstances.
- Fight: keep arguing the point
- Flight revert to, and hide behind, group consensus
- Freeze: disengage from the argument by shutting up
- Appease: make nice with your adversary by simply agreeing with them
There is no shame in any of these, as they are quite human, but the key to transforming a negative response is to simply start by being aware of your own default response. By knowing your response, you can better manage and anticipate future conflicts. And, of course, you may find yourself considering another’s typical response to conflict. This can infinitely help anytime there is a rub with a peer or subordinate in your company, as you may adjust your communication style or strategy to find a more lasting solution.
2) Loving Confrontation.
Yes, a loving confrontation. Read on. When was the last time you confronted someone? Many people associate this word with a fight or feelings of anger. But it is possible to confront, from a place of calmness and centeredness. The Latin root of confront is to stand in front of, be facing, which I love because it simply allows us to get ahead of the small ember of conflict by getting out in front of it and facing it head-on. And, then, there is the loving part. The loving part of Loving Frontation is that we only expend the energy needed to confront those we really care about, those dear members of our team, our incredible peers, our extraordinary mentors. Even those special people can take a misstep or say something slightly off. In those moments, we want to do a loving confrontation, because our goal is to nip that conflict in the bud while it is still relatively small, because, people, we want to keep these folks in our life. These simple steps can help you have a loving confrontation while keeping a positive intent
- 24-hour rule. Confront within 24-72 hours. Not any sooner, because it may be too fresh. Not any later, because everyone will forget the specifics of the issue and it may deceivingly lose its power, only to come rearing back later.
- Confront privately. No one likes to be confronted around other people. Would you like it? No. So don’t do it.
- The magic I Message. Prepare an “I Message” in writing and practice
- Set it up in person: “I have a concern involving _______________. I will tell you the concern while you listen and then I will listen to your thoughts about the situation to solve it together”
- Listen. Now, stop and listen to them. Actively listen. Meaning listening with curiosity and noting the actual words they are saying and the feelings they are expressing while they say it. Then, tell them what you heard + their feelings. Ask them if you are correct. “Did I get that right?”
- Find Solution. Brainstorm a solution together, pick one, and then come back and check results later by setting up a date/time to check in a few days later.
3) Health and Performance. You are not a robot.
Because we all experience stress, it is important to learn how to care for ourselves. It also gives us the resilience we need to sustain conflicts and practice loving confrontations to keep our company strong and nimble as well. You are not a robot. Self-care and downtime are critical for recharge. Our office’s team members report every week on what they are doing to feel recharged and ready for the day:
- I enjoy a morning five-minute meditation and journaling, to set my intention for the day. Also, fresh air and nature time as many times a week as I can fit in.
- Alysia enjoys going to the gym every weekday after work to weight train and shed the stress from the day, which allows her to be energized for her family time and to face a new day.
- Evelyn enjoys walks on the beach to clear her thoughts.
4) Long view thinking
Do you notice that when multiple deadlines approach it is difficult to plan ahead? As business owners, we often lead our companies from a place of reactivity, instead of proactivity. We want to put out all of those fires as quickly as possible, so often in fact, that it becomes the norm to not plan ahead.
Looking ahead at the next year’s calendar, and adding all deadlines and regular meetings that you are aware of will allow for fewer fires. It also is a great way to stay on top of issues that recur. Another tip is to incorporate a strong strategic meeting and tax planning session every October for the following year, to allow your team enough space to keep the company with a three-year view, in honor of the company’s long view vision.
Conflict in the workplace is natural and our office helps our clients navigate this process of loving confrontation, as well as the habit changing steps needed to set you and your team up for success. By examining how your company culture responds to conflict, and identify an approach that feels congruent with your values, you can shift your company culture to address conflict in a healthy way. I’ve found this preventative law approach saves my clients time, resources and money by setting a foundation for resolving conflict, a focus on better daily habits and wellness, while building a practice of long view thinking. Like I said, shift your habits, shift your company.