It is Monday Morning … and you don’t want to go to work. You are not alone.
It’s not that we hate Mondays per say; it is what they represent: the first day of a long week of commutes, meetings, deadlines, and coworker conflict. To be honest, it is the conflict that makes all the others unbearable.
Differing opinions and goals are a normal, and necessary part, of work (and life). It is what moves us from where we are to where we are going. Conflict helps shape policies and procedures, group norms, and define goals and objectives. Conflict has given us smoke-free restaurants, gender-neutral washrooms, and a Trump administration that one can not simply take their eyes off. ‘It’ moves us forward, for better or worse.
Conflict is nondiscriminatory and will erode away at the best of workplaces if unresolved. ‘It’ will take casualties. It thrives in those spaces between people where a perception of incompatible goals, ideas, beliefs, or values exist and where there is a belief that there are limited or scarce resources to solve an issue. Like a virus, it enters your system unassumingly at first and then infiltrates your mind, your spirit, and destroys your resiliency. The signs and symptoms of an unrelenting and unresolved conflict appear in your performance and productivity, your changing team-building nature, your declining work ethic, your dissolved resiliency, and your failing relationships. Of course, there are physical symptoms as well related to what is known as the stress response. The more prolonged the exposure to stress, the more likely you will experience physical symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach, anxiety, racing heart, etc. As your natural immunity and protective measures are slowly destroyed, colleagues and family may not recognize you anymore. The spark is gone and you are left with a shell of a person you used to be.
Here is the good news. ‘It’ does not have to be this way. Conflict can (and I will add, must) be managed; the earlier the better.
“It thrives in those spaces between people where a perception of incompatible goals, ideas, beliefs, or values exist and where there is a belief that there are limited or scarce resources to solve an issue.”
There are two powerful keywords to focus on, perception and belief. Both of these elements are in our control. The art of shifting perspectives and evaluating beliefs is your strongest antidote against conflict. Perception is how we see the world and it involves ALL of who we are: age, gender, values, beliefs, past experiences, expectations, occupation, relationships, community, culture, language, etc. It puts each and everyone one of us at risk of misinterpreting another’s intention. Belief is the acceptance that something is true; a faith or confidence in someone or something. Let’s look at this through an example.
John is a nurse working in a busy medicine unit. He is often called on by his female peers for his “muscle” to lift and move patients. At first, John enjoyed feeling needed by his colleagues but now he is starting to feel resentful as he is noticing that he is falling behind with his work, often staying late to complete his charting. As he leaves at the end of the day, he scans the assignment for tomorrow and notices he has three “heavy” patients. He is thinking about calling in sick.
John’s belief is that he is being used for his strength and that even his employer is focusing on his muscle rather than his nursing. This is a self-limiting belief that prevents John from perceiving any other possibilities and has the risk of impacting how he shows up at work in the future.
This is where the hard work begins. John’s self-limiting belief is impacting his perception of the upcoming assignment. To move outside of this box, John will need to consider other possibilities (a perspective shift). A good question to ask is: What other reason might I have this assignment tomorrow? He may then be able to articulate that he had expressed an interest in bariatric patients, or recall a comment from the charge nurse that she trusted him to care for complex patients, and maybe even focus on how his peers always comment on his ability to empathize with the patient’s experience. With these new perspectives, it is possible for John to reconsider his belief around strength, and move towards the other attributes that make him a great nurse. Perhaps Monday is not so bad after all, now that John is no longer dreading the heavy assignment.
For more information on how I can help you and your organization with shifting perspectives and exploring beliefs, send me a message. I would love to talk to you.