How Tension in the Office Can Fuel Conflict
As work gets busy, we all know that the space-time continuum begins to shrink, and deadlines loom without appropriate time to complete. Also, this is when bad management leaches into overall project objectives. The tension in the office begins to rise.
Even Kevin can understand when there is tension in the household. The snappy comments, stomping of kids feet, awkward silence, and the absence of humour unless given sardonically. Kevin paces with no specific resting place, agitated, and sometimes will look surprised or confused when we actually stop and pay attention to him. Other times, he will go hide under the table for protection from the strain.
We don't realize the anxiety we ooze when we are upset with a situation, or if management is aware they may be the creators of such unhappy wounds. I know I am faulty of leaching my frustration, however, when I go to The Calm and be rational, I can control my anxiety from affecting others around me thus NOT creating a Tension Vortex.
The Calm is a hard place to find when your emotions are exploding all over due to an unbalanced situation. We can spend a lifetime trying to find The Calm. There is a moment where something so diabolical has happened that you are frozen and speechless by absurdity, or you are so angry that a bull is only the appetizer for your rage. The Calm is clarity which can occur in that moment. This clarity allows all emotions to sit back quietly while rationale and reason can find clever responses, new possibilities to failure, or a serene understanding. The Calm allows you to deal with conflict to get better outcomes. The Calm knows it can deal with the greater emotions when you are in your "alone" space and can cry and rage however you wish.
Being pro-active to avoid tension and conflict is always most beneficial, however, taking time to breathe (I know, heard it a thousand times), going for a walk, or waiting to allow other team members and management to react to a situation, can help reduce the impact of conflict. Finding a room and closing the door is also a good way to address conflict - not in the open in front of co-workers that creates more tension.
There are things you can do daily to help reduce overall office anxiety - which often leads to conflict:
* Planning your time and others time realistically on a project will reduce overall panic stress
* Do not project your own fear of failure on others - office anxiety comes from above
* Do not micro-manage - it's your own lack of leadership skills if you have to micro-manage
* Do not constantly overwhelm your team with work and deadlines
* Be mindful of your subtle body language - everyone is reading emotional clues at all times
Kevin returns to his lazy easy-going nature when he hears laughter and gentle placement of objects on the counter. Everyone returns to their normal stations in the home - Kevin sits on his center-of-the-room chair and falls asleep. Is such harmony too much to ask in the office?
Fiona Warren - 17 years experience with large high-profile projects and teams.