3 Simple Steps in Creating Good Workplace Relationships and Reduce Conflict and Stress

From 1998, Australia observed May 26 as the National Sorry Day.


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This day also allows us to say sorry and show our commitments to taking responsibility for our part in reconciliation. Reconciliation is essential as it focuses on rebuilding and repairing relationships for better outcomes both practically and emotionally.


Did you know that workplace disagreement and miscommunication has a significant impact on a team's performance?


In Profusion's 2015 Productivity Research, they've discovered that 70% of Australians are unhappy at work.




Employees who said they were unhappy at work were 30% more likely to have relationship issues with their direct manager leading to poor communication and a lack of productivity.


Holding a grudge produces cortisol (the “stress hormone”) and diminishes oxytocin (the “love hormone”). Leading to higher blood pressure and the activation of the “fight or flight” stress response within the sympathetic nervous system, causing cortisol levels to spike. [1]



Some benefits of safe and healthy work [2]:

  • improved health and wellbeing

  • greater productivity

  • higher performance

  • increased job satisfaction

  • greater work participation and increased social inclusion

  • increased individual, team and organisational resilience

  • lower absenteeism rates

  • reduced workplace injury and workers’ compensation claims

  • faster return to work

  • lower workers’ compensation premiums.



Let's talk about the three simple steps to reconcile workplace relationship, thus creating a mentally safe and healthy working environment.



1. Intrapersonal Approach


When we are looking at resolving an issue with someone else, we must first take responsibility for our part. (Taking responsibility does not mean you are to blame, it means that you now choose what to do about it, giving you back control). We can do that by asking the following questions:

  • What is my part on the problem?

  • What did I say or do?

  • What did I fail to say or do?

  • What could I have done differently?

For this to be effective, you must be honest with yourself. Evaluate your part of the problem. Now you have options of what you can do about it and what you would do in the future if a similar event were to present itself.



2. Interpersonal Approach


The next step is to look at the event/problem from the other person's perspective. There's a famous saying: "You can't understand someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes."


In Steven Covey's book entitled The Third Alternative, he suggests that there is always a third solution that meets the needs of both parties. According to Covey, when we are in the middle of a disagreement, we always thought that there are only two solutions, limiting our ability to compromise. [3]


Do you know each other's point of view and usually through listening that we find a win-win solution.



3. Communicate


The last step is to allow them to take the time to communicate, not a time of casting blame but of accepting responsibility.


The Culture of Blame game can damage organisations. Dr. Amantha Imber, CEO of Inventium, a firm that specialises in science-based innovation training and consulting, said that "Unfortunately, too many companies in Australia have a very low degree of tolerance for ‘heroic failures’. If anything, there is often a culture of blame: if something doesn’t work, there is a desire to find out who is responsible and make sure they don’t do it again.[4]"



Let them start accepting responsibility. Ask how will they change or handle things differently. When we become solution-focused, instead of blame focus, it changes the dynamic of the conversation and improves the ‘safe’ culture within the business.


It takes two people to make reconciliation successful. It is difficult to do these in the "heat of the battle". They can step away and cool off a bit first.


Find somewhere neutral to talk and create a safe environment that encourages reconciliation.




If you have any questions on how you can incorporate this practice within your business, please contact me at info@proactiveaction.co or call me on 0481 286 550 for a private and confidential conversation.


Further readings:

1 https://profusiongroup.com/forgiveness-relates-performance/

2 https://www.comcare.gov.au/safe-healthy-work/healthy-workplace/benefits

3 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11003312-the-3rd-alternative

4 https://www.intheblack.com/articles/2017/02/01/forgiveness-culture-key-to-workplace-innovation

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