Conflict Resolution

As English learning friends of mine graduate and find themselves in the work force, I am beginning to hear complaints from some of them about how terrible the job is, how terrible the boss is, or how unkind their co-workers are. Often their first reaction is to try and find a job somewhere else. Anywhere but here. There may be times when moving on is the best choice, but I would suggest you at least think twice about it before you leave.

When we first enter the work force, we have high ideals and high expectations about what we will be contributing, and we have perhaps unrealistic expectations about how much freedom we will have to apply our new skills as we wish. The “politics” of the work environment is rarely taught in school, and certainly not something we give a lot of thought to in the beginning. It has been my experience that, no matter how high or how professional our skills are, a large part of succeeding in the work environment has to do with conflict resolution. It is important to find ways to resolve conflict with co-workers, bosses, and customers.

Unless we are fortunate enough to be fully self-sufficient and self-employed with no boss over us, we will always have some authority above us telling us how they would like to see things done. And, they will usually have the power to enforce that. If we are very lucky, the boss will be kind, gentle, and wise; the boss will be quick to notice our best efforts, and will offer us lots and lots of praise. When they wish us to do something differently, they will be helpful and constructive, and will give us a clear understanding as to how to implement the changes they’d like to see. Right?

If we are unlucky, our bosses might be self-centered, under pressure from their own bosses to produce better performance, and they might be poor communicators. When they want us to change our actions, it might be clear that they are unhappy with us but it might not be clear just what changes they want to see from us. We have no clear idea of what actions we need to take to satisfy them.

Sometimes in this situation our first reaction might be to seek work elsewhere, where our efforts might be more appreciated. But if we do that, we are really just avoiding the issue, and the same situation is likely to happen in the next job. It is important to learn to communicate well with the people we interact with, even if they are not good communicators themselves. We need to continue to work with them, to get them to clarify just what is needed to resolve the conflict. We might even try to think of it as a challenge, and try to come up with innovative ideas for satisfying all people concerned with the issue.

Also, if we proceed to apply for a different job, it is these same people that we didn’t get along with that the prospective employer will be talking to, to find out what type of employee we are. Do you think they will give us a good reference if we didn’t try to resolve conflicts?

What do you think? What is your experience in the work force?

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  • Oh, Debbie, so sorry for this unpleasantness! I hope you will find the new boss is more pleasant!

  • Thank you madam,for sending such a useful blog with audio file.Really this blog is boon for such kind of a person who are finding difficult to cop up with work and want to change there job frequently  without thinking hard.your audio file is like a TV news for me.Really madam, you are doing great for improving us in  domain of English .Madam ,I always wish  you correct my blog so I can learn correct English.

  • Hi Ivan! Thanks for the comments. Yes, and it is not something they really focus on in school.

  • First of all let me wish a very happy new year to Beverly and all there in EC.

    I totally agree with Beverlys comments and I have similer experiance what she has stated. I think we should learn how to communicate properly with your bosses and co-workers. Communication skill is a diferant subject and and its important thing to get it right. Thanks bevery for sharing this...


  • Tawfeeq--From what I understand, military is a whole different "ball game!" I guess they write their own rules and there IS no good escape!

    U Shaikh--Yes, it is too bad that some bosses aren't as quick to compliment good efforts as they are to criticize mistakes! I think productivity would increase with more compliments.

    Galina--Thanks for the great comment! Yes, that's why I suggest people think twice before leaving an uncomfortable situation. Leaving COULD be the best choice, but it is best to review the situation carefully first, and maybe talk to others to see if their situations are better!

  • Correction : experience

  • Hello, Beverly!

    The problem you described is really vital. I know many people who can't have one and the same job for a long time. They're dissatisfied with everything. And I think they simply don't want to resolve their conflict. It seems to them that 'grass is always greener on the other side of the fen' or 'blue are the hills that are far from us' or 'that place is best of all where we haven't been at all'. But they don't understand that every job has its own minuses and pluses, and nobody knows where's the best place for you. I work at school, have 7-8 lessons every day and I'm a form teacher of the 11 year- old students. I think my work is very stressful and sometimes I have a wish to retire and maybe to find something less stressful. But while communicating with other people I hear they also have different problems at work. Then I think maybe my job isn't so bad and I try to find ways to resolve different conflicts with my bosses, colleagues, students and their parents and then everything is ok again.

    Beverly, thanks for the nice topic and one more thanks for voice recording. It's very helpful to learn English this way!

  • Thanks Beverly . You have shared good Idea 

    I am working as Accountant Manager in an organisation run by Trust. Trustee usually visit my office quarterly They do not know how much effort I have done with achieved to complete that work .

    When I was Junior Account officer that time many conflict with co -staff or co-worker . We were teasing each other. that time I used one idea all co worker become good friend . I have invited for lunch all of them  and make plan to travel together with any good place    

  • I have no experiment with bosses as I am a man works in business .But, you remind me of the time of Army .I had spent eight years in the Army as a soldier .It was a bad experiment .Iraqi Army is a different matter of course , they dealt with us as slavers . Soldiers respected their officers in deference to the lows of country .

    Thanks , I always learn something useful such as new verbs and words from your posts .

    you have a wonderful style writing . Thanks for sharing us .

  • Yes, Anele, you are right, there will always be those who won't be friendly! And only some can be "warmed up" with proper attention!

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