The Subtext of Conflict

joy at work Aug 25, 2020

Written by Roxanne Brown

Sometimes this is the subtext of work conflict:

Employee to employer: I feel hurt by the way you treated me. [I work hard for you and this company.]

Employer to employee: I feel hurt by the way you treated me. [I’ve invested a lot in you, for you and this company.]

The power dynamic:
The employer has the power to retain or fire the employee.
The employee has the power to do the work in a more-or-less acceptable way.

The risk is inertia or a transactional employer-employee relationship. The risk is a negative impact to the culture, the business, customers, other people on the team.

Questions to ask: What is my part in this? What do I own? What’s in my power to do to rebuild trust between us? What would I like most from the other person? Why? How can I ask for it in a way that treats us both with respect?

It may not work out, but reframing gets to the constructive place.

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