Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for February, 2008

Different language—different planets—much to learn

We’ve got the lingo—re-engineered; headcount; dotted line reportability; matrixed organization; PIP; human capital; etc. According to an artist friend of mine who recently found herself meeting with corporate friends—”They get talking, and it’s like someone dropped me onto a different planet.”

I have a similar feeling when I overhear my art therapist friends talking about the impact of combining traditional psychotherapeutic theories and techniques with an understanding of the psychological aspects of the creative process. Yikes!

Each of us have developed our own comfort zones—our own language—based on our own environments and experiences. This reminds us that regardless of how experienced we may be or feel in a particular area, there’s a whole world out there, and, if we choose to, we have much to learn from each other.

Acknowledgment—a powerful first step to conflict resolution

Resolving conflict with a co-worker remains a difficult task for most of us. Negative feelings may tend to escalate as we avoid direct communication about our displeasure with another’s behavior or words. Fear of repercussion is commonly sited as the reason for avoidance.

Generally, if you’re feeling uncomfortable or frustrated with someone, it’s very likely that they are experiencing similar feelings around you. So remember that the resolution of the problem will, most likely, benefit both of you. You may want to consider making the first move to reconcile your differences —simply acknowledge, directly with the party involved, that the discomfort exists, and offer to talk with him or her about how you might work together to improve the situation.

Resolving conflict may never be easy, but if you genuinely want to work it out and you’re direct about it, chances are the other person will be responsive and the longer term outcomes will be well worth it.