Posts Tagged ‘workplace differences’

How to Help Your Managers Resolve Conflict in the Workplace

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
resolving conflict image

Photo of my co-worker’s son, who’d decided to resolve conflict in his own way. Fortunately, he did not follow through with his course of action!

A key workplace skill that always seems to be overlooked is managing and resolving conflict. The beauty of this skill is that it can be utilized in both your professional and personal lives.

While it is clear that not all conflict is unproductive, oftentimes smoldering conflict works beneath the surface to undermine our relationships, and add unwanted stress.

Managing and resolving conflict requires the ability to quickly reduce your stress levels to bring your emotions into balance. You can ensure that the process is as positive as possible by sticking to the following guidelines:

1. Listen to what is said (and felt)

When we really listen we connect more deeply to our own needs and emotions, and to those of other people. Listening also informs us, and makes it easier for others to hear us when it’s our turn to speak. For best results: Listen to ‘hear or understand,’ and not to ‘respond.’

2. Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning (or “being right”)

Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and his or her viewpoint. By doing so, you increase the odds of a “win-win” outcome.

3. Focus on the present.

When you hold on to grudges or past resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation is greatly impaired. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here-and-now to solve the current problem at hand.

4. Pick your battles.

Conflicts are often draining. As such, it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy. If you go through life ‘searching’ for opportunities to be pissed off at the world, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a good conflict every day. That type of demeanor will only serve to bring you down and create collateral damage all around you.

5. Be willing to forgive.

Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution can only be found when you let go of the urge to punish. The urge to punish can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.

6. Know when to let something go.

If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, choose to disengage and move on.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.


Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s 
Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

Make Generational Differences Work for Your Company

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Four different generations now make up the United States’ workforce. Organizations should know and understand the characteristics and workplace preferences that make each of the groups unique. Being equipped with this knowledge will assist companies in keeping employees happy and engaged, which in turn will help reduce turnover, attract top talent and achieve business success.

Companies should identify the various generations that currently exist at their workplaces. This information will help target the business practices and employee engagement tools that will be most effective for their staff. Below are some of the traits that distinguish each generation:

Matures (Born before 1946):

Typical characteristics of this age group include: disciplined, loyal, team players, rule followers and putting work before fun. They respect authority and rarely question instructions from their managers. Matures prefer formal and personal communication, such as memos and one-on-one meetings, when interacting with colleagues. They tend to struggle with new technology, but they are valuable resources for company knowledge. Matures are also extremely loyal to their organizations.

Baby Boomers (Born between 1946 -1964):

Typical characteristics of this generation include: workaholics, inquisitive to authority, focus on personal accomplishments and competitive. Baby Boomers are hard workers that will do whatever it takes to finish an assignment, including working nights and weekends and missing family time. This group respects power and accomplishment and prefers public recognition and career advancement opportunities when being rewarded. When interacting with coworkers, they favor a combination of electronic and personal communications. Additionally, they remain loyal to their profession.

Generation X (Born between 1965-1980):

Typical characteristics of this group include: skeptical, self-reliant, efficient and desires structure and fun. Gen Xers choose to work at organizations that will help them attain useful and marketable experiences. They prefer efficiency rather than a set method for getting work done, and they require a strong work-life balance. Competitive pay and time off work make great rewards for them. Giving them greater responsibility makes Gen Xers feel successful. Unlike the generations before them, Gen Xers are loyal to their specific career goals.

Millennials (Born between 1981-1999):

Typical characteristics of this generation include: multitasker, entrepreneurial, goal oriented, tenacious and tolerant. Millennials prefer to work by deadlines and goals instead of a rigid schedule, and constant feedback keeps them satisfied. They like to be recognized both individually andpublicly, and are eager for opportunities that broaden their skill set. They enjoy combining personal life with work life, and they are highly proficient in technology. They become loyal to the people they work closely with.

The descriptions above indicate that each generation values and expects something different from their workplace. Here are a few approaches to use when managing multiple generations:

  • Matures and Baby Boomers have spent many years working. Use them as resources for company questions that Gen Xers or Millennials might have. Matures and Baby Boomers make great mentors to younger staff members, and they can be very helpful when training new staff on company policies, procedures and history.
  • Gen Xers appreciate autonomy and independence in the workplace. Work-life balance is also important to this group. Similar to Gen Xers, Millennials enjoy their free time outside of work. Because Millennials are multitaskers with entrepreneurial spirits, a traditional schedule is not always best for them. Offer schedule flexibility, such as telecommuting, to please both groups.
  • Frequent training opportunities will keep each generation engaged. Encourage Matures and Baby Boomers to offer their younger colleagues career advice through company training or mentorship programs. Have Gen Xers organize training sessions as more responsibility pleases them.
  • Gen Xers and Millennials love receiving feedback. To help all employees succeed, make sure positive and constructive feedback is given consistently through the methods of communication that work best for each generation.
  • Praise and recognition are appreciated by all. Know how each group likes to be rewarded and proceed appropriately. For example, a Baby Boomer would enjoy a company-wide email highlighting their success, while a personalized email about their hard work will please Millennials.
  • No matter the age or length of employment at an organization, all employees should be viewed as valuable staff members. Creating an environment that promotes open communications will help all generations feel appreciated, respected and engaged in their organization.

For more information on how to manage various generations at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-688-7746.

Photo source: xflickrx