How to stop fireworks in your office this Bonfire Night!
With firework night round the corner, how do you stop the sparks flying in your team?
We are all different… different personalities, backgrounds, experiences, values… and when harnessed and managed well these differences can create great energy and creativity in a team.
But they can also cause tensions – which, if not dealt with early, can escalate and cause real fireworks.
Picture credit ‘Paul VanDerWerf’ under licence from Creative Commons
So here are 3 tips to help you diffuse a potentially explosive situation!
1. When to step in? A question we get asked regularly by managers in our workshops, is about when to step in to address a situation. The main guideline is that early is best… at the point you have a “cause for concern” it is important to find out what is going on. It is usually a change in behaviour that indicates things aren’t quite right between team members…someone more quiet than usual, people being a bit short with each other. The benefit of noticing this and addressing it early is that you can have a low key, exploratory conversation, before frustrations have started to smoulder and emotions started to “ignite”.
2. Approach the conversation with an open mind… don’t prejudge the situation. Use open questions to get the team member talking and to get to the root of the issue. Listen carefully and be alert to body language and tone – especially where it is not matching the words. Someone may say they are “fine” but if the non-verbal communication is screaming the opposite, that needs to be explored.
3. Discuss what would help to move things forward… again, don’t assume what the next steps should be – ask the team member what would help. Often the fact that you have been willing to listen and shown a genuine interest in sorting issues out, goes a long way to resolving the situation, before it becomes too hot too handle.
You may also be interested in our blog on Managing a “rocket” or a “smouldering volcano” in your office or our page on repairing working relationships
Stella Chandler and I founded Focal Point on a shared belief that a training course run in isolation doesn't work. We passionately believe there must be support both before and after the training or coaching session itself for it to make a difference. When I am not facilitating sessions with clients or looking at ways to grow the Focal Point business, you will find me in a calming yoga class...