Friday, June 29, 2007

Conflict Resolution at the Workplace

To err is human to forgive is divine.

Conflicts can greatly reduce the productivity of the individuals at the workplace.We do not value what we have until we lose it. This statement is also applicable to peace and harmony at the workplace. While it is good we resolve conflicts, it is even a more desirable state to prevent conflicts. Basically everyone wants to be treated with respect, appreciated, and recognized. Nobody wants to be taking for granted. Saying simple words like please and thank you can go a long way in reducing conflicts at the work place. Be considerate of others. Do not be myopic in your thinking. Things are not always the way they first appear. Hear both sides out in a dispute. Do not allow any form of prejudice to interfere with your judgment faculty. Look for a win-win situation

Communication- conflicts usually occur as a result of ineffective communication. The receiver of the message may have a wrong interpretation of the message. It is the duty of the receiver to clarify and confirm what the sender implies. Words should not always be taken at face value especially if the individuals involved have different backgrounds. An African adage says words have male and female versions. This is to indicate that the tone of response can make another party to pick offence. Mind how you raise your voice. Even facial or body expression can even can even trigger conflict. Issues that usually generate conflict in decreasing order of influence are listed below.

Technical Beliefs
Administrative policies and procedures
Project Cost

Methods of handling conflicts
Problem Solving –even though this approach confronts the issue head on it is still the preferred way of resolving disputes. This approach helps to build relationships and trust among people. it may however appear confrontational. It is also time consuming but its worth it in the long term.
Forcing –the person with the power makes the decision. This may not even be the best for the parties. The organizational interest is considered and given priority. The affected individuals may however not settle their disputes.
Compromising- in this situation both parties give up something. In real sense non of the parties wins. This approach can be used to avoid fight and not to appear bias.
Smoothing- this refers to efforts or attempts to minimize the perceived size of the problem and impact of the problem. It is a short term solution that allows the warring factions to cool off. Areas of agreement between the aggrieved parties are emphasized
Withdrawal-this is not a good way of resolving conflicts. It is a situation whereby one of the parties walks away in annoyance and the problem is not solved. It can only be helpful in maintaining relationship when the issue is not very important.

Final Whistle
The real objective for workers is to get the work done. Every form of strife should be avoided. It takes the matured mind to apologize. I even recommend that you forgive people in advance. Empathize with the other aggrieved person. See things from their perspective. Perhaps you will understand the person’s point of view. If only we could be more patient and tolerant. If we could restrain ourselves from uttering those statements we will later regret. Please calm down. Leigh Hunt said ‘patience and gentleness is power”
Oluyemi Adeosun
A Consultant with Generis Solutions

Monday, June 11, 2007

Our Core Values Our Power

Our Core Values Our Power

A top executive embezzles money, a management staff influences the salary of a girlfriend, and a married man impregnates his house help. I guess you are familiar with such stories. These things do not just happen. It’s a reflection of an individual’s core value. At least another individual has been faced with a similar temptation and did not fall.

What do you stand for? Where do you stand? How do you stand? Who are you standing with? Why do you stand? You shall know the truth and it will set you free. What actually makes the truth so powerful is that it draws its strength from the base line (core value). Truth does not compromise…it ultimately delivers value. People believe in the truth because it can be relied upon. A compromise is what nobody believes in.

Core value is the parameters by which we appraise situations, opportunities, events and circumstances in our lives. They are more or less like a mental sieve which determines your output, response and attitude.

Core value wins in the long run. Have you ever heard of a situation where doctors told a patient that he cant walk again and not only does the patient walk he goes ahead to run in the Olympics. This is usually as a result of some core values which may include tenacity, determination and a never say die attitude.

Kunta Kinte in that epic movie Roots refused to change his name to Toby in spite of severe punishment because of his core value. Core value is something we all have whether we are conscious of it or not. So the focus of this article is to ensure you have the appropriate values. Your core values determine who you really are. It determines what you attract and also determines whether you are assisted or resisted in your pursuit of greatness.

If you are honest and sincere you will operate with other people as though they also honest. You will give people the benefits of the doubt, however if you are dubious and dishonest, you will be suspicious of every other fellow. When you act in good faith, you will more often than not get good results.

What is your organizations core value? What’s your family’s core value? What’s your religions core value? What’s your nation’s core value? Core values rules your conscience. Look at the people in the world who we celebrate today you will realize that they are propelled by strong virtues. Those who know their values and live by them become the leader of their society. Martin Luther King was driven by equal rights and freedom, Mother Theresa by compassion and value for human life, Henry Ford desired that everybody affords a car, Bill Gates desired that every home will have a personal computers and our very Adeolu Akinyemi has a desire to see people and organizations succeed. There is a strong relationship between core values, desires, goals, aspirations and performance.

Your values determine what decisions you take and how you relate to other people. Do you consider short term implications or long term? Or immediate gratifications or delayed gratifications? Do you place other people first over yourself? If you value others to lay down your life for them, you will soon be hero worshiped. If you value people enough to serve them, you will soon be their leader.

According to jack Welch, values describe behaviors that will take you where you are going. Generally core values are drawn from virtues which include service, respect, integrity, excellence and quality. Values are means to achieving the companies’ mission and vision. Now let’s consider a case study of an organization called Bank One.

One of Banks One core value is ‘we treat customers the way we want to be treated”. They further itemize the behaviors required to achieve this. Some of them include-
Never let profit center conflict get in the way of doing what is right for the customer.
Give customers a good fair deal. Great customer relationship takes time. Do not try to maximize short –term profits at the expense of building enduring relationships.
Always look for ways to make it easier to do business with us.
Communicate daily with your customers. If they are talking to you, they cannot be talking to competition.
Don’t forget to say thank you.

You can take a cue from the case study above and further elaborate your core values. It gives you more power and makes it come to life. If it is practical, then it will be practiced and the results will be overwhelming.

We acquire core values include association, mentoring, reading books about successful individuals etc. On a final note do you play to win or not to lose? Do you save for opportunities or for the rainy day? Your answer to this question is a reflection of your value system.

Oluyemi Adeosun
A Consultant with Generis Solutions