Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Workplace Relationships: Key to Job Satisfaction

Finding the perfect position is only the beginning of job satisfaction. Have you ever heard someone say, "I’d like my job if it weren’t for the people I work with"? One of the greatest challenges in the workplace is getting along with other people. It hardly matters if someone is the best and brightest at what he does if he creates dissension in the office. Regardless of whether someone is hired to lead or be part of the team, it is the ability to establish functional and healthy workplace relationships that can make or break their success and job satisfaction.

The Supervisor’s Responsibility

A supervisor has a particular responsibility to create a satisfying and productive atmosphere that encourages others to reach their full potential. To inspire confidence and loyalty from others, he must lead by example. If he values punctuality, he should be punctual. If he insists on respectful behavior, he should demonstrate it in his treatment of others. If he wants to...

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Free Yourself from Anger

Did you know that, on average, a man will lose his temper six times a week, and a woman will lose her temper three times per week? That’s a lot of conflict! But within certain boundaries, it is not always a bad thing. While it is never good to resort to violence or deliberately hurtful words, expressing strong feelings can be a healthy outlet for emotions.

Even though many people seem to freely express their anger, others are so averse to conflict that they drive their anger underground, resulting in serious problems.

Unresolved anger can lead to serious physical, psychological, relational and emotional problems. In fact, unresolved anger is believed to be the number one contributing factor that propels couples towards divorce. Even small irritations, left unaddressed, can eventually turn into serious anger. Something as simple as one person not putting their dirty clothes in the hamper or someone habitually not checking the amount of gas in the tank can be blown into major...

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Dealing with Disagreement

Do you ever wish we could all agree on everything? Wouldn’t that stop all the arguing and fighting? Maybe, but it would also stop a lot of progress and prevent important changes from being made. While disagreement can be uncomfortable, it can also be beneficial if it’s handled the right way. Here are some keys to making it work for everyone involved.

Clarify the Issue – I’ve seen couples, work teams, business partners and family members get embroiled in arguments that escalate into hostility, only to find out they’re not even fighting for the same reason. Begin your discussion by making sure you all have the opportunity to say what your concerns are and what you think the “win” will be once the conversation is over.

Respect – No conversation works well if one or more individuals speaks or behaves in a disrespectful manner. It’s critical to acknowledge that everyone has a legitimate right to their own opinion and that...

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Keys to Confronting Well - Part II

In last week’s blog I shared the first five of ten keys to confronting well. Have you had an opportunity to practice those principles in a confrontation? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Confrontation can be a scary proposition, but when you learn to do it well it can be the key to resolving differences and strengthening trust in your relationships.  Here are the last five keys to confronting well.

  1. Express your thoughts and feelings

Expressing what you feel openly and honestly at the outset of a difficult conversation will help to reduce anxiety and diffuse pent up emotion that might otherwise escalate during the discussion. For example, stating, “I am angry” will actually help prevent anger from controlling your responses.

  1. Remember that it’s far better to be respected than to be liked

Although the person you are confronting may not like what you have to say, if you appropriately communicate your concerns, they are much more likely to...

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Keys to Confronting Well - Part I

Many people struggle with confronting well. The thought of speaking up, especially during a conflict or uncomfortable situation, can be almost paralyzing. However, the ability to effectively confront tough issues by clearly stating what you think, feel, and want can be one of the most valuable interpersonal skills a person can possess.

This week we will look at the first five of the ten keys to confronting well so you can be prepared for those difficult conversations.

  1. Objectively describe your concern

Stick to the facts only when describing your concern or complaint. If you begin by talking about the other person’s motives or intentions, you’re likely to trigger a defensive or angry reaction.

  1. Avoid making it personal

Address the action or behavior without attacking the person with criticism, name calling or blame. Negative personal comments can damage your relationship, even into the future.

  1. Keep your comments brief and to the point

Reserve the lectures for the...

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"But I Don't Like Confrontation"

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone always got along and communication was always agreeable? That, of course, is a fantasy that will never happen as long as human beings co-exist on Earth. The reality is that there are times when discussions must take place that involve disagreement or confrontation of a behavior or situation that needs to change, whether you like it or not. You may know someone who enjoys a good argument or seems to relish stirring up discussion about difficult subjects, but that doesn’t describe most people. It is more likely that you would rather run the other direction – and you are not alone!

I would have to say that fear of confrontation is one of the most common issues many of my clients face. It’s not uncommon for people to literally become sick to their stomachs at the thought of having to confront for fear of having it turn into a conflict or facing the possibility of rejection. Consequently, these same people often experience low...

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Meet Conflict Head On

We recently escaped the brutal Arizona desert heat with a road trip to San Diego. Paradise, right? Fog in the morning, beach temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, beautiful scenery and stunning colors, and an enormous number of vehicles displaying Arizona plates vying for parking spots! I expected peace and quiet, yet what I experienced nestled in this supposed utopia was… conflict. Conflict all around me.

A young family in the restaurant battling the cries of their kids. At the beach, young people were arguing what bathing suit was the sexiest (someone tell me when thongs became the norm on beaches!!!), and at the hotel swimming pool where a couple held hands coming in but stormed out 30 minutes later. As you know by now, in relationships, in families, at work, conflict is ever present. The goal is not to avoid conflict, but rather to embrace and grow through it.

In his book Take the Stairs, Rory Vaden shares how cows and buffalo react differently when storms roll off the...

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Ask the Right Questions, Receive Better Answers - Part I

Here’s the scenario: It has just come to your attention that a customer filed a complaint about Mr. Smith, one of your employees. While your gut tells you that the customer may have overreacted a bit, there’s enough information to warrant a meeting with Mr. Smith. You know from past experience that he’s somewhat sensitive to criticism, but you have several legitimate concerns. How can you get the information you need without triggering a negative response from Mr. Smith?

Here’s another common office dilemma: You are meeting with a vendor who’s behind schedule and over budget on a project. You don’t want to jeopardize the job and you don’t want to burn a bridge with this company. However, you’re not at all satisfied with the way things are going and you need to take some answers back to your VP of Operations. What is your best approach?

It takes cooperation between every person involved to ensure the smooth operation of a company or...

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Why Most People Avoid Conflict... and Why You Shouldn't

If you can think and talk, and if you ever come in contact with other people, there is the potential for conflict. Conflict is an inevitable, completely normal part of the human condition, yet most people readily admit that they intentionally avoid anything that even remotely resembles disagreement or confrontation.  In fact, much of my work in relational counseling and coaching involves helping people to understand – and even embrace – the value of conflict and overcome the fears that feed their aversion.

There are a number factors that can influence conflict avoidance, such as self-doubt, lack of assertiveness, inadequate communication skills, fear of rejection, disapproval, criticism, loss of security and more.  In other words, people avoid conflict in order to minimize perceived threats to their self-esteem and sense of well-being.

Let me be clear – I’m all for avoiding real danger and I never recommend that anyone intentionally subject...

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Getting a Handle on Sibling Rivalry

“Mom, Billy pulled Barbie’s head off again!” “I know you are, but what am I?” “Dad, Jenny looked at me!” Sound familiar? It does if you have more than one child in your home. Sibling rivalry; a common pattern of negative interaction between children of the same family that dates as far back as the Old Testament and the story of Cain and Abel.

Even though it can make you want to scream and pull your hair out, sibling rivalry is normal and can even be constructive if handled properly. Day to day interactions between siblings and parents help children learn important skills such as problem solving and negotiating and how to develop self-control and an attitude of cooperation.

Sibling rivalry is typically an outgrowth of a child’s immature attempts to gain their parent’s love, attention, acceptance and approval. When emotions such as jealousy, envy and frustration are combined with impulsivity and underdeveloped social...

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