I recently read an article on how the workplace is becoming more and more challenging. On top of the theories and activities that we must let the technical behind and focus on the human in the workplace, we are growing the stress levels at work day after day. In a fast-changing business environment, conflicts exist as part of our life. We don’t notice some of them and have been convinced that most of them are just small blocks in our way to perfection and success, but still in time we realize that those small blocks are actually a not well understand and clearly spoken and discussed challenges, caused by unspoken conflicts with others and us as personas.
A Psychology science research, conducted back in 2017 has identified that at the workplace we only see about 30% of the conflicts caused by the environment and react on less than 22% actively.
Here is why there is space for improvement. If we want to leave a meaningful and balanced life, we need to focus on identifying all challenges and conflicts and deal with them, s that they stop to exist or transform in a positively impacted activity.
For most people, it is easy to identify challenges and conflicts, but still, the next steps are often not very well structured and don’t lead to a changing environment and better results.
Often the conflicts and challenges you face in your workplace are continuous activities that don’t lead to anything positive. These quiet wars, led from people in the workplace change rapidly the workplace environment by causing less productivity, lower motivation and engagement and lower accountability to company long term goals. That causes psychical discomfort to people in the workplace and together with that is one of the reasons for the push, stress and lower result in company plans.
To be more relaxed and happy in the workplace, the crucial step is to learn how to identify the conflicts and challenges, how to categorize them and how to move through them by implementing the best resolution, that can create a win situation for you, your colleagues and the company.
The easiest way to do that is by categorizing what happens around you and how that affects you and others. Then you must build your strategy on how to react. Here are my steps to deal with workplace silent wars:
Start from the end
When most people receive a task they strat from point A, then move to B, etc. That approach causes them and others a lot of stress because they learn how to balance task fulfillment by making mistakes. If you want to save time on how to be successful with less stress, you need to first identify the final goal you need to achieve. Some people call that “the big picture”. When knowing what is the final condition you must reach, you will be more likely to plan better on how to reach it.
Analyze the environment
You want to achieve great results with fewer conflicts in your way. Then just know in what environment you are operating. Make a short analysis of what’s the company culture’, how people with power support others, what are the relationship levels others around you are ready to build and what is the level of accountability. Yeas the level of accountability. Or in other words, what is stronger, words are spoken or activities finished. If you identify that people talk too much, but results are hard to achieve, then this I a sign for a silent war environment. People you will ask for help in an environment like this one will always be late with a deadline, will deliver lower results than expected and the senior leadership team will focus on pointing only on your accountability to the project or task you need to finish, instead of showing support for the end result. Knowing the environment and its elements from the beginning will help you with planning better for success, without fighting empty and unconscious battles that lead to nothing positive as a result.
Plan according to the environment
People who enter workplace wars are often those who want to change something. They challenge others and the status quo from their point of view and standards and often this leads to a hard challenge or a silent war with groups or other people. If you are a change leader who wants to challenge the status quo then you need to think of the environment borders. People leaving in the environment feel comfortable with the current situation if you want to stretch them and make them change you have to be ready to face the challenge and strong resistance. Those often come from a limited capacity for change, well built “defense forts” for the status quo, strong resistance to change, by accepting it like something that will shake up everyone.
Before you start with the real change you need to plan in small steps, looking at the environment possible limits to accepts changes. That can help you to move forward with the change you are planning and will lower the challenges and silent war actions against you from people or groups, formed in the workplace.
Create a backup plan
Have you heard of Sun Tzu? This guy has been an amazing strategist. In his tract The Art of war, he recommends that you start a battle just to explore how strong your opponent is and then plan at least 2 different scenarios on how to win the battle and the war.
When you start a change plan in the workplace be ready to have steps that can replace original steps. Why would you need that? If the company is not 100% ready for the change you want to implement then you will face resistance. Even with the resistance, your ultimate goal is to change the current environment. Be ready to adapt to the environment and still able to deliver results seen as a change.
Have the generals on your side
In war, it is not who is on the top, but who leads the troops. It is the same in the business. If you want to change the status quo and move forward, you will need wider support as you can get. Remember that having the CEO, or the owner on your side doesn’t help too much if the change you want to make meets general resistance from the people who have to make it happen. Winning people’s hearts can make you winner, or guarantee you success and lower number of challenges in your ultimate goal. That is why you need to invest enough time to build accountability within people, crucial to your success. This includes not only members of the team, responsible for the change but also others, possibly affected by it. Win the mid-managers and leaders level and their team’s accountability and you will guarantee yourself winning the war for changing the status quo in the workplace.
The workplace is a fighting arena. You fight for change, for building more comfort, for building sustainable growth, for ensuring business results, for ensuring the environment, stimulating work for success. Most people take it personally when you try to enter their comfort zones and often react in a not very pleasant way. To meet the challenges, win the battles and the workplace war you will not only need to think different but think for success in terms of your coworker’s feelings, beliefs, understandings, and level of accountability. But to ensure positive impact you must build your strategy to for success on a solid analysis of the current environment and structured approach involving others to your cause and ultimate goals.