The conversation on stress continues as Bob and Alex talk about how to handle the conflict with the people around us. One report says that workers spend over three hours a week dealing with it. This does not sound alike a lot perhaps, but it does put a real damper on your productivity and your success.
Alex suggests that one approach to dealing with this is to train managers on how to deal with this. This is something to ficus on because the environment this creates can become viral. If a team member has just gone through an unpleasant encounter with someone and you are they next person to deal with them, their anger may still be readily apparent and negatively impact the interaction that you have.
A long term strategy is to make every attempt to hire within your culture. This effort is important in building a community with cohesive personalities. Using panel interviews and bringing more people into meet candidates can help. Bob mentions a post here about how those awkward out of place interview questions may be important for just these reasons.
Bob asks the question “Is it ever OK to ignore it and walk away?” This is the jumping off joint for introducing the framework that there are only two things you really care about in the conflict…how much you care about the issue and how much you care about the relationship.
Managers can come up with rules or guidelines about “how we act.” This could be a part of crafting an even broader more robust mission statement for the group. If you have one of these, you can look at when talking about how we get over the conflict when this is what we do. These become important norms.
If you are a manager with an open door policy, you may have been approached by an employee more than one level beneath you who want to vent about their own manager. When asked if they had talked to them about that, they would say they had not. Bob suggests that he tells them to go do that before they ever came to him to complain. This conversation is critical, particularly in light of research that shows that half of employees are dissatisfied with how their manager handled a conflict.
Having discussed the connection between conflict and an individual's interpersonal skills, Bob cites research on just how important that linkage is. Recent research indicates that of all of the net worth of an individual, 15% is directly attributed to their technical skills while the other 85% is attributable to their interpersonal skills. This casts a real sense of urgency over how how should try to improve these skills.