Thursday, May 3, 2012

Need a Conflict Resolution Quick Fix? Say Please.

In my work with organizations I frequently hear employees echo the same complaint about their co-workers, supervisors, and even underlings.  The complaint?  A lack of courtesy. 

Please keep me up to date on that.”  “Thank you for completing that project on time.”  And, of course, “You’re welcome.”  Why are these basic courtesies missing?  Haven’t our parents/caregivers instilled these basic manners into us?  Have we really become demanding and rude while at work?  My thought is that we have not become thoughtless - but we are in a constant hurry.  We don’t mean to treat others in a manner that offends or upsets them; we just simply get caught up in getting the work done.  No, the added word or two doesn’t take up much time.  But, to demonstrate the genuine courtesy that goes with those words does requires us to slow down in a more complete way.  It means we need to look the other person in the eye and to connect with them on some level.

So while the complaint may be a lack of courtesy, the reality is that there is a lack of a connection between those who work together.  And as that connection erodes or fails to be established, problems arise.  Problems which can lead to misunderstandings and interpersonal conflict, and which likewise lead to lowered morale, diminished productivity and higher turnover.

On the flip side - imagine the impact of slowing down and connecting with your co-workers, subordinates or supervisor.  Such behavior is likely to build a lot of good will and positive vibes.  Why?  Connecting allows us to develop a better understanding of one another, which in turn yields better interpersonal relationships.  People who have a positive connection to their co-workers typically are happier, work harder and are more loyal and productive employees.   Why does this matter?  As multiple studies reflect, there is a strong correlation between employee happiness and productivity.  By changing the mood of your employees – you’re likely to change the company’s ability to succeed.

So if you’re looking for a quick conflict resolution fix, slow down, look your co-worker in the eye and say “please”.

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