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Conflict Resolution Exercise to Improve Teamwork

From Pettiness To Professionalism

Before I share a very simple Conflict Resolution Exercise to improve teamwork, let's be clear about the cost of conflict.


Many, if not most interpersonal conflicts stem from an INNER conflict between pettiness and professionalism.

The petty side of you wants to strike back, to "prove your power", while the more professional side of you cares far more about more important things.

Pettiness runs you when you feel the need to "prove your power" to another.

Professionalism is your choice when you choose to employ your full power to achieve goals of greater importance to you.

As you will soon see, falling into the petty pattern takes you off the course of achieving your greater professional goals.

If you were to make a list of your most important goals, the odds are that "proving your power" to that annoying individual at work is not a real priority.

It takes energy to think, energy to emote, energy to do things aimed at impressing another.  And that is energy you can use to achieve your goals.

The more energy you apply to achieving your goals, the more quickly you will achieve those goals.  

We can define professionalism as the attitude that makes the achievement of your professional goals your priority.

The professional way to relate with a difficult team member is to rise above the conflict and maintain your kind, respectful, support attitude toward that person, as you remain focused on what is most important to you.

As one inspiring speaker has stated it: When you engage in petty, personal “one-upmanship” you take advantage of yourself by wasting your energy on a pointless purpose.

If you suspect, or even strongly believe, that another person is trying to undermine or outdo you, you don't have to go out of your way to prove to that person that you are too smart for that.

The energy that you expend in trying to get back at someone depletes the energy you need for getting ahead in your own life.

Don't waste a thought worrying about another person's power to undermine you.  Focus instead on what you can do for yourself and for others that will help you to achieve your goals.

Any stress management seminar worthy of the name will help you to see your stressful reactions, like frustration, insecurity and resentment as conditions that you impose upon yourself that undermine your effectiveness, waste your energy and cause you to suffer.

In other words, how you react to another person is how you are treating yourself in response to that person.

When you really think about it, getting back at someone or making someone else see you as someone who cannot be taken advantage of does NOT directly relate to your real priorities, goals and responsibilities.

To keep your energy working on the achievement of what is truly most important to you, and to avoid being derailed by a difficult team mate, develop your professionalism by:

1. Reviewing your most important personal and professional goals.

2. Thinking about what you can do to advance toward achieving those goals along the most direct route.

This simple goal-setting and action-plan exercise becomes a potent conflict resolution exercise, because it helps you to avoid getting distracted by a sense of threat or competition that you may be feeling in response to a team member's antics.

This conflict resolution exercise helps by strengthening your focus on what really matters most to you, and helps you steer clear of slipping into energy draining, ego-competition with a non-cooperative team mate.

By NOT getting caught up in petty personal rivalry you conserve your power for meeting your REAL professional demands.

Every petty, personal conflict within a team contributes to the formation of a negative team culture

How you interact with another team member sets a tone that will influence other team members to behave similarly.

By rising above the temptation to engage in petty conflict, you help your team as a whole to function in more harmonious cohesion, respectfulness and professional cooperation.

Professionalism means that you direct your power into the accomplishment of your professional goals INSTEAD OF SQUANDERING YOUR POWER IN PETTY PERSONAL GRIPES.

Take total responsibility for how you react to fellow team members.

See how YOUR REACTION is impacting you.

Think about the goals that you are putting off, or losing altogether, by wasting energy on a petty interpersonal conflict.  This will help you to remain focused on what is really of most importance to you.

In one of my recent inspirational speaker events, where I was discussing interpersonal conflict as toxic to team building, I shared: "When another person can get your "goat" and lure you into a personal rivalry, if that person's purpose is to derail your success, that person has succeeded."

To remain on course for YOUR success, do the conflict resolution exercise presented in this article.  

Do it on a regular basis, and particularly when you find yourself feeling annoyed or threatened by a coworker.

When you feel like thinking and speaking about that other person, focus your attention on your goals and on creating an action plan to achieve your goals.

This will develop your professionalism and keep moving forward toward your greater success (which is probably the last thing that an antagonistic team member wants for you). 

Bob Lancer can include Conflict Resolution Exercises at YOUR Motivating Seminar for Team Building or at your Inspirational Keynote Speaker Event.

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