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To collaborate successfully on an issue such as bullying or continuing conflict you need to follow a few basic guidelines. - You must recognise that part of problem is your own fault: you allowed it to happen and did not try to address it to begin with. You can use this aloud and actively take part of responsibility, as this will put onus onto other person to take other part of responsibility. - Remember that we frequently don't like in others what we don't want to see in ourselves, but find occasionally anyway. Be very sure that you have not committed same conflict and that you do not in future. - Manage yourself during resolution attempt - learn calming strategies if you are hot-tempered, or confidence boosters if you are shy. Try not to be emotional, as emotion will only make things escalate. - Maintain eye contact and use your body language to convey your belief in what you are saying. Don't fiddle with something nervously, don't cross your arms protectively, and don't put yourself on a lower level than other person (such as sitting on a lower chair). - Don't believe that best defence is a good offence - that is part of Competing strategy. - Work issue, not person: this means addressing behaviour rather than entire existence of that person. There is a different level of ownership for behaviours, and people will take less offence if you criticise their behaviour than if you criticise them personally. Never lay blame, as this will only fan fires. - If you are not getting anywhere, ask for further information from other person about reasons for their behaviour, but don't ask questions with 'why' at beginning - if you do this will actively put other person under spotlight and they will get defensive.
Remember above all, that people who enjoy creating conflict are ultimately power-seekers who enjoy controlling others. Frequently this is because either they have suffered in a similar way before or feel that they have very little control over their own lives and does anything they can to feel in control. A little compassion will take you a long way both in resolving situation and in putting it behind you when it is resolved.
A Final Word on Bullying
Dr Gary Namie, co-founder and president of Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, conducted an online survey of 1,000 people who claimed to have been bullied at work, finding that 37% were eventually fired, and 33% quit their jobs. In a reversal of typical childhood bullying scenario, in which unpopular and apparently weak kids are picked on most, adult victims in workplace tend to be very capable and charismatic people. The bully sees them as a threat, and determines to get them out of picture. Most workplace bullies are thought to be women -- 58% according to those Namie surveyed -- and so are their targets -- 80% of those surveyed. The estimated figure is that half adult population will experience severe conflict at work at least once in their working life. That is a scary statistic - and majority of people don't expect conflict and don't know how to deal with it when it intrudes.
Bullying conjures up images of schools and young children, but it is growing trend in workplace, which is rarely tackled openly even if you are lucky enough to have policies to deal with this issue. There are legal options to take should strategies above not resolve conflict. Don't ever just put up with bullying, seek help and advice.
To learn more about bullying and what you can do about it, I recommend visiting www.bullyonline.org - it has a lot of good information and further resources.
Charlotte Burton is a Licensed Career Coach & Psychometric Assessor. For more information and to sign up for the ezine, view the website at www.lifeisvital.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your complimentary consultation.