與同事發生衝突?你可以這麼做

Whiteboard Session: Clashing with a Coworker? Here's What to Do
愛美.嘉露 Amy Gallo
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這四個步驟可協助你解決衝突,無論你是尋求衝突或是迴避衝突的人。

愛美.嘉露:在工作中發生衝突,是非常正向的事情。你可以取得更好的工作成果。你會建立更牢固的關係。我們處理衝突的方式,常常才是負面的。我們沒有理性思考。我們沒有做出好的選擇。我們說出讓自己後悔的話。你在談話之前,如果先進行這四個步驟,有助於你做出理性、明智的抉擇。根據豐富資訊做出選擇。選擇要做什麼和怎麼做。

重要的是,第一步並非關注自己的感受。這是我們的本能,對吧?我們陷入衝突時,只在乎自己的感受。這很自然。但你必須擺脫這種情況,開始為對方著想。這不是出於慷慨,也不是出於利他,而是策略性的行動,這行動可協助你解決衝突。你應該問自己一些問題,像是:對方是尋求衝突的人,還是迴避衝突的人?

他們想在這個情況下實現的目標是什麼?他們想從這情況中得到什麼?你可能認為對方只想讓你難堪,或者你可能認為,對方真的只是想要得到你也在爭取的升遷機會。但那個人還可能面對什麼情況?是否可能是他昨天沒睡好?也就是,失眠。是否可能是他家裡有很大的壓力?是否可能是他很在乎這個專案?或者,他最重視的價值觀之一,像是公平或誠實,受到威脅。

因此,你應努力嘗試站在對方的角度思考。就像我提過的,這包括了解他們是迴避衝突者或尋求衝突者。迴避者重視關係與和諧,這對他們最重要。他們往往會安撫其他人,以便維持良好的工作關係。他們會試圖改變話題,試著引導人們轉向其他話題。如果你是迴避者,不想陷入衝突,這是非常好的策略。

另一方面,尋求衝突者重視直接和坦誠。再次強調,這並不是說他們不在乎關係與和諧,而是對這類人來說,直接和坦誠更重要。他們陷入衝突時,會為自己辯護。他們不怕說出自己想要什麼、需要什麼。這也意味著,他們通常也願意為他人發聲。他們遇到衝突時,也可能沒耐心。我說這些話時絕對感同身受,因為我自己就是尋求衝突者。

很多人既是迴避衝突者,也是尋求者。你面對上司時可能是迴避者,但面對母親時是尋求者。因此,我們有時會運用不同的角色,和不同的手段。但大多數人都有一個一般的預設方法。因此就像我說的,你必須了解自己。你也必須知道對方屬於哪一類型。例如,如果你是尋求者,而對方是迴避者,你在第一步當中就會注意到。很好,太棒了。

我得注意不要霸凌對方,或是要小心別壓抑對方的意見。或者,如果他們開始改變話題,我必須理解這是他們迴避衝突的方式,而不是因為他們不尊重我。你必須要知道的第二件事,是你面臨的衝突類型。大多數人都以為,自己面對的是所謂的關係衝突,這也稱為個人衝突。在這種情況下常見的是,你會覺得不受尊重,或者覺得你們的關係岌岌可危。

這對於迴避者來說特別常見。其實,大多數衝突,尤其是工作中的衝突,不一定源自關係衝突。不是你們的互動或工作關係受到威脅。更多時候是源自其他原因。最常見的是任務。任務衝突,是指你們對目標或目的產生不同意見。也許我認為,我們專案的目標是改善客戶服務,你卻認為目標是增加營收。

這也與第三種類型的衝突有關,那就是流程衝突。我們可能對目標有共識。我們可能都同意目標是增加營收。但我們可能對達成目標的方式,有不同意見。我常認為這個重點在於「什麼」,而這個重點在於「如何」。這與最後一種類型的衝突有關,也就是地位衝突。這方面的真正關鍵在於權力。誰有權力或權威做出推動某件事的決定?

這種情況常出現在跨職能工作小組,或跨職能團隊裡,出現在不清楚該由誰主導的地方。爭奪職位或權力的情況很多,你甚至可能會看到地盤爭奪戰。無論你遇到哪種類型的衝突,不管是最後三種衝突中的哪一種,最終常會導致關係衝突,對吧?因此,你們開始對專案的目標產生歧見。

但接下來我會開始覺得不受尊重。也許是你在深夜11點寄給我一封尖酸刻薄的電子郵件。或者,也許你在某次會議上對我提高音量說話。所以我開始覺得我們的關係岌岌可危。因此這個步驟會很有幫助。你該做的是,思考究竟發生什麼情況?到底是什麼開始的?你們是否對於要達到的目標,有不同意見?你們是否對你們嘗試達成目標的方式,有不同意見?你是否對於該由誰主導這項工作,有不同看法?

然後,它是否演變成某種讓人感覺是針對個人、可能不尊重人的事情?分析這種情況,了解到底發生了什麼事,有助於你釐清衝突的不同層面。第三個步驟,是了解自己的目標。大多數人的情況是,陷入衝突時就只想要贏。如果這是你的目標,請考慮採取其他目標。是專案需要按時完成嗎?產品是否需要低於預算?你是否想和現在與你發生衝突的那個人,保持穩固的工作關係?

你也應該確保自己的目標是共同的目標。這有關你在第一步驟做的事情,也就是了解對方,並思考目標。如果你要實現的目標,與對方要實現的目標之間有重疊,這就是很好的起點,可以由此開始對話。最後一個步驟,也就是第四步,是要選擇一個選項。第一個選項是什麼事都不做。

我知道這聽起來有點像可笑的選擇。但我們很常這麼做。這會是個很好的選項,如果你非常在意這段關係的話。如果你正在與不理性的人打交道,如果你覺得對方不願意打開心胸好好討論。如果你覺得你將陷入僵局,這就不是好選項。第二個選項是直接處理。我認為,尤其是在美國工作文化中,我們在考慮衝突管理或解決衝突時,最常想到這個選項。

採取這種做法,你和對方就會討論解決衝突的各個方案。你們有可能會找到解決辦法。第三個選項是間接處理。在許多文化中,或是在許多情況下、在許多組織中,間接處理似乎有點算是消極性攻擊。但在許多情況下,這是非常有用的選項。最後一個選項是退出關係。

這應該是最後才用的選項。在工作文化或工作環境中,這常是不可能採用的。你可能無法辭職。你可能無法換一個新上司。你可能無法更改與自己共用辦公室的人,對吧?但是,如果你已經嘗試過上述一個或多個選項(最好試過所有選項),情況依舊沒有改善,那麼你絕對應該思考,該如何減少與對方的互動?

我可以調到新的團隊嗎?也許你可以調到其他部門,隸屬於新的上司?你不必一直處於面對很多衝突的情況,這真的讓人感覺是無解的。有很好的理由,要讓團隊裡出現健康的衝突。其實這是主管的責任,要創造這類衝突,只要是健康的衝突就無妨。只要團隊擁有所需的工具,可以很有成效地解決衝突。

(劉純佑譯)


Amy Gallo: It is a very positive thing to have conflicts in work. You get better work outcomes. You get stronger relationship. It's how we handle conflict that's often negative. We don't think rationally. We don't make good choices. We say things we regret. Before you have the conversation, if you go through these four steps, it's going to help you make a rational, smart choice. Informed choice. About what to do and how to do it.

It's important to note that the very first step is not focus on your feelings. That's going to be our instinct, right? We're all very narcissistic when we enter a conflict. And that's a natural thing. But you need to break out of that and start to think about the other person. This is not out of generosity. This is not out of altruism. This is a strategic move that’s going to help you solve the conflict. So ask yourself questions like, is this person a conflict seeker or an avoider?

What is the goal they’re trying to achieve here? What is it that they want from this situation? You might think that person is out to get you. Or you might think that the person really just wants the promotion that you're also aiming for. But what else could be going on for that person? Could it be that they had a long night? You know, didn't get much sleep. Could it be that they're under a lot of stress at home? Could it be that they care about this project? Or that one of the values that they care most about -- let's say fairness or honesty -- is being threatened.

So really trying to get into the mind of the other person. This includes, as I mentioned, understanding whether they're an avoider or seeker. Avoiders value relationships and harmony. That's what's most important to them. They often will placate others because of these concerns about having good relationships at work. They’ll try to change the topic. They’ll try to redirect people to something else. It's a very good strategy if you're an avoider, and you don't want to be in a conflict.

Now seekers, on the other hand, value directness and honesty. Again, it's not that they don't care about relationships and harmony, it's just for them, directness and honesty is more important. They will advocate for themselves when they get into a conflict. They’re not afraid to say what they want and what they need. That also means they're really usually willing to advocate for others as well. They also can be impatient when it comes to conflict. Now, I say this with absolute empathy because I identify as a seeker.

There lots of people who are both avoiders and seekers. You might be an avoider with your boss, but a seeker with your mother. So we all sometimes use different roles and different tactics. But most of us have a general default approach. So, like I said, you need to know what you yourself are. You also need to know what the other person is. For example, if you are a seeker and the other person's an avoider, in this first step you're going to notice. OK great.

I have to watch out for bullying. Or I have to watch out that I don't talk over this person. Or if they start to change the topic, I need to understand that's part of their avoider-ness, not because they're being disrespectful to me. The second thing you need to know is, the type of conflict you're having. Most of us assume that we are in what we call relationship conflict. Which is also personal conflict. Now, that's very common is that you'll feel disrespected. Or you'll feel that your relationship is at stake.

This is particularly common for avoiders. And the truth is, most conflicts -- especially at work -- don't necessarily start as a relationship conflict. It's not that your interaction or your working relationship is at stake. More often, it starts as one of the others. And the most common is task. Task conflicts are conflicts when you disagree over the goal or the objective. So I might think the goal with our project is to improve customer service. While you think the goal is to increase revenue.

That's also related to the third type of conflict, which is a process conflict. So we might agree on the goal. So we might agree that the goal is to increase revenue. But we might disagree about the way to get there. So I often think of this as the what, and this as the how. That’s linked to the last type of conflict, which is status conflict. And that's really about power. So who has the power or authority to make a decision to move something forward?

And you see this a lot on cross-functional task forces, or cross-functional teams. Where it's not exactly clear who's in charge. And there's a lot of jockeying for position, or authority, or you might even see some turf wars. No matter what type of conflict you're having -- whether it's one of these last three -- often it can then end up in a relationship conflict, right? So you start to disagree over what the goal of project is.

But then I start to feel disrespected. Perhaps you sent me a snarky email at 11:00 at night. Or perhaps, you raised your voice at me during a meeting. So I start to feel like our relationship is at stake. And that's why this step is really helpful. Because what you want to do is, think about what was actually going on? What actually started? Was it that you disagreed over what you were trying to achieve? Did you disagree, how you were going to try to achieve it? Did you disagree about who was in charge?

And then did it evolve into something that felt personal and possibly disrespectful? Analyzing that, and understanding what exactly is going on, will help you tease apart the different strings of your conflict. Now, the third step is to understand your goal. Most of us feel like when we enter conflict, I want to win. If that's your goal, think of a different goal. Is it that the project needs to get done on time? Is it the product needs to come under budget? Is it that you want to have a strong working relationship with the person who you’re having a conflict with?

You also want to make sure that your goal is a shared goal. So that work you did in step one, to understand your counterpart and think about the goal. If there's any overlap between what you're trying to achieve and what she's trying to achieve, that's a great place to start when you actually have the conversation. Now the last step -- the fourth -- is to choose an option. So the first option is to do absolutely nothing.

Now, I know that sounds a little bit like a funny option. But we do this all day long. This is a great option if you're very concerned about the relationship. If you are dealing with someone who tends to be unreasonable. If you feel like they won't be open to having a conversation. This is not a good option if you think that you're going to stew about the situation. The second is directly address. I think, especially in American work culture, US work culture, this is what we think of most often when we think of conflict management or conflict resolution.

This is where you and your counterpart talk about options for how to resolve it. And you'll hopefully come to a resolution. The third option is to indirectly address. Now, in many cultures -- or many contexts, many organizations -- indirectly addressing it feels like a little bit, perhaps, passive aggressive. But there's many contexts in which this is a very useful option. Now, the last option is to exit the relationship.

Now, this should be a last resort option. It's often not possible in work culture or work environments. You may not be able to quit your job. You may not be able to get a new boss. You may not be able to change who you share your office with, right? But if you've tried one or more of these options -- hopefully all of them -- and things are not getting better, then you should definitely think about how can I lessen my interaction with this person?

Can I get staffed to a new team? Can I maybe, you know, switch departments and report to a new boss? You don't need to stay in a situation where you're having a lot of conflict, and it really feels unresolvable. There’s a very good reasons to have healthy conflict on a team. And it's actually a manager's responsibility to create some of that conflict, as long as it's healthy. As long as teams have the tools they need to work through it in a productive way.




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