Workplace Conflict Styles: How to Speak Everyone’s Language

In life, conflict is inevitable.

In the workplace, conflict is one of your daily job responsibilities whether you are an owner, manage, or part-time chimney sweep at the office.

Conflict is an interesting concept, because it is not often discussed but it has the largest impact on work efficiency, communication, and overall sense of employee morale in the company.

There are 5 main conflict styles, all having their advantages and disadvantages.

Competitive Style: This style approaches conflict with a win/lose mentality. Either they win or they lose, and they will say/do anything to win in their mind. They are aggressive and confrontational, most often disregarding the needs of the other party.

Advantages: The conflict is identified quickly. This style is used in emergency situations or places where decision making is timely.

Disadvantages: The needs of the other party are dismissed

Example: A member of an organization suggests more weekly team meetings. The manager answers, “No, we don’t have time for more team meetings. What I say goes, because I’m the boss.”

Compromising: This style approaches conflict with a desire to meet the other person’s needs, even if that means sacrificing one’s own needs.

Advantages: The other party’s needs are acknowledged.

Disadvantages: The conflict has been avoided and it could lead to resentment.

Example: A co-worker asks you to finish one of their tasks if you don’t mind. You answer yes, even though you have your own responsibilities to complete.

Avoidance: Denying or dismissing the conflict through passiveness, joking, or physical avoidance.

Advantages: That uncomfortable feeling of conflict has been postponed. (Key word, postponed). This strategy is helpful if the conflict is unsafe.

Disadvantages: The issue is “pushed under the rug” until a later time, possible worsening the stakes of the conflict.

Example: You avoid a manager through non-decisive jokes or physical avoidance when they ask you to work overtime.

Accommodating: Similar to compromising, this conflict strategy avoids conflict by bending completely to the needs of others.

Advantages: The conflict has been avoided. This strategy is helpful when communicating with a volatile person, someone who is not yet ready to collaborate.

Disadvantages: The possibility of resentment can build in both parties.

Collaborating: During the conflict, both parties keep in mind common goals and the needs of others to brainstorm a solution that works for both parties.

Advantages: Both parties leave the conflict satisfied and understood.

Disadvantages: This conflict style takes time and skill. It is not easy to collaborate quickly without much practice. Both parties must be ready to collaborate with each other and have the skills to do so.

Example: A team member suggests more weekly team meetings. The manager answers, “I agree that communication can be stronger with more weekly team meetings. Our time restrictions in this quarter are not allowing for more meetings. What are the team’s thoughts on more communicative memos on production goals and how to attain them?”

All of these conflict styles are used in different contexts. We are a certain conflict style when handling high-stakes situations, informal situations, and social situations.

When handling conflict, remember to act as a team and not as a competitor. In the workplace, we are all on the same team looking to achieve the same company-wide goals.

 

Commitment in All Its Forms

Commitment: Difficult to spell and even more difficult to understand.

Commitment is dedication to an activity, person, or cause.

We constantly find ourselves in a state of commitment or in search of commitment. We long for it, we beg on one knee for it, and we underestimate it.

Commitment is seductive and alluring with its promises of “this will solve everything” and social acceptance.

We rush into all sorts of commitments, believing and trusting that is it right without taking into consideration the long-term effects. Why think about the long-term when the short-term effects are so blindingly splendid?

We’ll quickly jump into (in no particular order):
Relationships
Marriage
Student Loans
Large purchases (requiring other loans)
The decision/not decision to have kids
Courses/Degrees
Careers
Pets

Is it that we feel we need to act quickly on these large decisions? Do we feel we have given them enough thought and understand the consequences? Do we feel safety and comfort in these agreements? Do we feel a sense of belonging into something bigger than ourselves such as tradition? Or do we become addicted to the sensation of a long commitment?

3 Ways to Help Beat Rumination

Currently reading Notes on How to Live in the World and Still be Happy by Hugh Prather, I read about his suggestions for rumination.

Rumination is constantly dwelling on a situation or a feeling, replaying the situation over and over in our minds. Normally, the concept contains a negative stigma; however, rumination, like other concepts, can be used in a positive sense. One can ruminate over a joyful event.

We won’t be discussing the joyful thoughts. Hopefully no one has an issue with ruminating over their winning pitch thrown at the championship game in 5th grade. I’m just saying, I couldn’t have thrown a better change-up.

What we will focus on is the negative spirals that infect our daily routine. We’re familiar with it, are we not? Something happens, an argument sparks, maybe regrettable words are exchanged, and we ruminate on the past. Or maybe you’re stuck ruminating about past loved ones, past jobs, missed friendships. The downward, depressive spiral is the shared among all walks on misery lane.

The mind is a muscle, and in order to get the mind into shape, it takes practice and exercise.

Exercise A: 7 Minute Negative Sprint

Research suggests we take a couple minutes designated for negativity and rumination when needed. We set this time aside to release our negative thoughts. Here’s the key. After that, we let them go. The exercise is a waste if you return to those negative thoughts.

STOP Exercise A

Exercise B: 5 Reps of “Will Do”s

“Could have”s are never helpful.

After replaying or ruminating your heart’s desire for 7 minutes, try thinking a few “will do”s.

Instead of:

I could have been less angry.

Try:

I will remain calm and collected in order to keep an open mind.

Continue Exercise B in any situation you face. Keep the future in mind. Dwelling on the past doesn’t help to learn; reflecting helps to process everyone’s behavior in a productive manner.

Exercise C: Friends Don’t Let Friends Ruminate Alone

Sometimes we can’t shake ourselves out of the funk. It’s difficult to break that perpetual thinking alone.

Recruit the help of a friend or confidant to distract you for a bit until your emotions can be more manageable.

Catch a movie, listen to music, take a quick jog or walk. Physical activities can lower your mental arousal, and outdoor activities help boost Vitamin D with sunshine intake, which increases brain activity.

Ways Mardi Gras is Like the End of the World: Apoco-beads, Mardi-Gras-don

New Or·le·ans [awr-lee-uhnz, awr-leenz, awr-luhnz]

noun

a melting pot of cultures, each bringing their own pot-luck of foods, clothing, languages, and, of course, alcohol.

Currency: Plastic Beads

Also Known As: “The Big Easy”, “NOLA”, and “Yeah, I’ve been there before. Dude, you gotta check out The House of Blues. I got a *bro in the band that plays on Tuesday afternoons.”

Food: Sea

Dialect: “Y’all”

Main Import: “3-for-1 Shots!”

Main Export: Hangovers

Business: …Psh, right…

Sports: How many beads can we throw into open windows?

*Urban Dictionary says a bro is an obnoxious party male. In this sentence, I feel it could be a friend or a word short for brother. There are not enough clues to draw an accurate conclusion.

_____________________________________________

The Dark Side is strong in this float.

Having visited New Orleans recently, I drew some creative comparisons to ongoing tourist events.

Mardi Gras is similar to the End of the World:

1. All resources are consumed like there is no tomorrow, and screaming fills the air.

2. The streets are littered with assorted trash as if all common societal norms do not apply.

3. Currency is not the US dollar. (E.g. During Mardi Gras, currency is plastic beaded necklaces. These necklaces are fought over when tossed during parades, and women often exchange body for beads.) Governments during both events have changed significantly. During Mardi Gras, they have agreed upon a King and Queen various Mardi Gras Krewes.

4. Alcohol is the only source of liquid and is used as a means to celebrate (or cope with) the occasion.

5. There are NO refills on fountain drinks, clearly a sign of the end of all things.

6. Land dinosaurs roam the outskirts of the city. City dwellers call these creatures alligators.

7. People from all parts of the world have gathered for this (sometimes) once-in-a-lifetime event.

8. People wake up the next morning regretting most of their decisions.

A Strengthened Ally: (Some of) What I Learned About True Empathy’s Power

The Strengthened Ally

I successfully acted in every textbook example of how not to treat someone with depression. Not just depression, but anyone close to me with an internal struggle or a relational conflict even.

I kept doing the same things over and over again and expecting things to change. Yeah, I’m familiar with the Einstein quote. Thanks, though.

I’d walk away from a conversation or a conflict completely defeated and uncomfortable about the way it went and the way I behaved.

I blamed, I accused, I shut-down, I lashed-out, and I continued to wonder if loving is supposed to be this difficult. Eventually, I even gave up.

What I failed to realize is that I did not love with an open and understanding environment that my partner needed. I wasn’t giving my partner much support at all.

What to do When Someone You Love is Depressed by Dr. Mitch Golant has helped me to grow as an individual, giving hope to those who comfort the hopeless. In fact, it explains that when continuing to act on such destructive behaviors as blame, anger, and neglect, it is natural to give up on ineffective actions.

I learned that you have an important role in the life of your loved one (any loved one), and I’d love to share what I learned with another person. Whether your loved one is depressed, sad, angry, apathetic, or just in a funk, your support means the same significant amount.

The best and most effective tool I have come to understand at a beginning level is empathy. Once understood, it feels like a power used for the good of your loved one. This tool is called Mirroring or Validating. It helps with understanding your loved one’s feelings without reacting personally. Instead of responding to hopelessness by negating or dismissing their emotions, a more powerful approach includes validation and reassurance that those feelings are temporary and that you will both work through it together. Many people are afraid of being alone. By understanding without reacting personally, you establish your role as a strengthened ally and a symbol of permanence.

Example:

Your Loved One:  I’m alone.

What not to say: No you’re not. You have me and your family. How do you think that makes us feel?

What to say: I know it feels that way right now. Together we’ll get through this loneliness.

Of course, this skill takes practice and mindfulness. In order to practice, keep a journal of what phrases you find yourself reacting to without validating, called triggers.

Another simple way to comfort your loved one includes the power of touch. 93 percent of communication is nonverbal: our tone, facial expressions, and body language. Many depressed people report that they feel grateful just being hugged. Simply sitting in the same room as them is enough to provide reassurance of your remaining presence through their struggle. The book encourages allies to not personalize rejection.

As a strengthened ally to your loved one, you must understand and educate yourself on depression. Any step they take toward helping themselves must be celebrated. Encourage any of their efforts and never reprimand those they have not tried. Remember that there is not one single universal treatment for every person feeling depressed. Everyone is different and requires their own unique methods whether those treatments include therapy, pills, vitamins, exercise, spirituality, family support, personal enrichment, or wellness retreats. Encourage a discussion with your partner on trying any of these methods together when your partner is ready.

Remember also to take care of yourself. Maintain productive hobbies and keep up with your own social support. In order to take care of your loved one, you must take care of yourself as well.

Ways in which Handling Losing a Loved One is Like Dealing with Tooth Decay

Let’s just get into it:

1. Tooth decay and losing a loved one resemble a painful, dull pain inside.

2. Pain is only temporarily subsided after various coping mechanisms: pain killers, eating more sweets, singing loudly while crying in your car, etc.

3.  You’ll search Google endlessly for cheaper/easier answers as to why/what to do now.

4. If not treated, it will eventually affect the rest of your body/mind/living relationships.

5. If not treated well, it can lead to death.

6. Neither can be predicted, and we rarely accept their occurrence as true.

7. You are left with a cold and sensitive cavity in your body, making normal tasks unusually painful. So you try to fill that cavity with various coping mechanisms like food or alcohol, but those just make the cavity deepen and more sensitive. You’re afraid to seek help through a specialist. So you try other coping mechanisms and you tell yourself everything is fine, ignoring the pain as it grows. But the pain will be back, with other symptoms, until you eventually don’t remember a time when you didn’t live with this dull and unforgiving pain. It keeps you up at night and you have no appetite. And you see a specialist and sometimes the waiting was too long. And sometimes it just takes longer to recover.

8. We learn from the past and take better care of the others we still have in our lives.

 

Digital Media After Death

I spent most of my night frantically looking through the history of my phone’s voicemail searching for a digital recording of your voice, just to hear it again, as if it would feel like things are back to normal. I imagined myself talking back to the voicemail, laughing at your story, feeling sad that I missed out on a conversation in a call that didn’t actually happen in the present.

I read through your Facebook wall, your Twitter page, our texts, floods of photos on Instagram, and even your Myspace. My, how you grew before you left.

I flipped effortlessly through the tons of photographs on my phone, wishing there were more and more, even though each one hurts to view.

Still, I wish I had just one last story saved digitally. I’d play it over and over until my phone was sick of it. Then I’d play it again.

“Who Wants to be a Farmer When They Grow Up?”

I took the midnight hay ride going anywhere, and I ended up on Superstition Farm in Mesa, AZ.

Upon first steps on this farm, I was surprised at how disconnected from animals I am, along with my tour group attendees. This was evident in the excitement over our first sight of a chicken walking in the open. Our faces said, “Wow! A chicken! These really exist!?” Upon first hearing a rooster crow, I looked around for the digital device making the noise. The whole trip followed this mythical, surreal theme as we continued toward other animal sightings including donkeys, dogs, sheep, and cows.

That’s right, this farm has everything from hay rides, horseback travels, a petting zoo, fresh food, local ice-cream, and a milk bar with 12 different flavors. Don’t worry, I had a designated driver.

My tractor trip inspired a realization of deserved gratitude for farmers. My journey through this specific farm helped me appreciate the value of farmers’ dedicated efforts day after day to provide fresh, environmentally ethical milk, eggs, butter, and other food. I appreciate the respect these farm hands have for their animals. On a tour, I passed rows of cows walking freely under the water misters, chickens mingling with other animals, and, of course, the farm’s dog, Toby. Their hard work truly showed through their upkeep and vast knowledge of the farm. The farm is their passion. The business is a side-effect. Their work is to provide for people.

Not only do the farmhands…well, farm. They provide for the people through farmer’s markets, daily tours, and horseback riding lessons. Farms must think of creative ways to survive in a society alienated from their food’s origin.

The tour guide/farm hand/store manager/animal caretaker asked a group of children, “Who wants to be a farmer when they grow up?”

No one raised their hand.

If there is no desire to be a farmer, who will ensure a food-filled future? Our ideal careers now center around money. We want to grow lots of money.

To show appreciation for the dedication and ethical practices of Superstition Farm, I encourage us to buy and eat local in order to encourage many future free-range, family-owned farms such as the Superstition Farm.

I imagined other hay ride tours of other existing unethical, business-driven farms: rows of cows lined-up with just enough room to stand, chickens violently fighting for breathing room, and Toby, the factory farm manager, fetching to make quota for the day. Factory farms are businesses fueled by money with another chain being built frequently. Our idea of a “farm” matches that of Superstition farm; yet, the supply/demand rituals worshiped by capitalism have altered our definition of a farm to involve massive outputs of product.

For more information about Superstition Farm, visit their website. 

To read more about the consequences of factory farming, please read the Human Society’s report, Factory Farming in America.

 

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” —Ghandi

7 Ways Being in Love is Like Demonic Possession

Image

1. You awake unaware of your location and what had happened.

Shared phrases: What happened? How did I end up here? Where are my shoes?

According to many sources, memory loss is associated with demonic    possession and love.

2. Your head spins 360 degrees and you often pull your hair out.

3. Your friends try to exercise exorcise you.

Your friends often ask the “demon’s” name and pray to God for the demon to leave.

4. Your friends and family don’t know “which Amy they are talking to”.

You’ll have several mood swings and personality shifts.

4. Science cannot explain both rare phenomenons. Some are in disbelief of both’s existence.

5. Both demonic possession and love end in a ceremony taking place in a church.

6. Both are considered mental diseases.

7. According to many sources, both are associated with random weight loss and weight gain.

Seriously, What’s the Password?

I’m going to change all of my passwords to really difficult words to spell.

No one will be able to get into my Facebook account with the password Furniture or Restaurant. Or at least they won’t want to. It’s frustrating to spell after several tries. Then you have to open Word or Google to see where you are misplacing your vowels, and by that time, the hacker has lost his interest in hacking.

What’s that? Those words are only difficult for me?

What’s that? I just gave away my password FurnitureRestaurant for my Facebook account?

What’s that? They didn’t know it was those words combined in that specific order until I just asked?

What’s that? I locked myself out of my Facebook account because I can’t spell my own password I created with difficult words?