Tuesday, December 22, 2009

To avoid conflict; To confront conflict; That is the question.

Do you avoid or confront conflict in the work place? Today’s example: As a manager, how do you handle jealousy in the office when an employee finds ways to do their job more effectively outside of the office walls?

I recently spoke with a young professional who just faced this challenge. For the last 5 years, he spent about ½ a day every week working from his local coffee shop. He would save all of his mundane/ computer work and high concentration writing for that opportunity. He would drink 3-4 cups of coffee and get it all done in one chunk of time. He claims that the caffeine boost and change of scenery made the mundane go faster and improved his ability to write complicated summaries or high level communications.

However, he was notified recently that his departure from the office had been noticed by other employees and they expressed concern to their managers. The negative vibe created caused his manager to request that he stay in the office building during business hours.

What would you do in the same situation as his manager?

My response: Avoiding conflict will only reduce the effectiveness of the entire department and further isolate the most talented employees. Instead of eliminating the exceptions to the rule, allow everyone equal opportunity. If other employees are jealous of one working outside of the office, give them the same challenge: “Find a place to work ½ of a day every week that increases your work productivity.” What positive effect might you see in the office?

In public schools, differences in learning styles and performance are recognized and programs like “Gifted and Talented” or “GT” have been created. The programs are designed to promote alternative leaning techniques for those currently being confined by teaching methods geared towards the average student. Taking this mentality into the work place allows for greater personal development and encourages activities that increase efficiency and productivity.

That is my opinion….What is yours?

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