The Corporate Make Up Rules: How to Resolve or Dissolve Conflict

Let’s face it—we all make mistakes and have disagreements. And with tensions rising in the workplace today, we need to solve problems and move on quickly. We can’t get hung up and mired down, carrying baggage of past troubles into the present. We have to move on and travel light.

We need to employ the corporate make up rules, where we make up our minds to move forward in a positive and productive way with 2 simple choices: resolve it or dissolve it.

Resolve means you make peace with yourself and others by saying so.

Dissolve means you make peace with yourself and others by letting go.

Often—you choose both.

Let’s take an example:

A friend of mine (let’s call her Kate) was always going on and on about her boss. No matter where we were and what time of day, Kate would constantly complain about things her boss did, and the fact that her boss was an idiot. I was sympathetic to her, and tried to help her, but she wouldn’t listen. After a while, it became too much.

At a recent dinner party, when the subject came up again, I told Kate I thought she needed to consider resolving or dissolving her hatred,  because now, she was inviting her boss to not only annoy her at work, but to join us at the dinner table and ruin everyone’s meal.

Kate was shocked at what I said, and then realized it was true. You see, the longer we hold on to negative feelings, the more we allow them to permeate every area of our lives, taking up valuable time and energy, and hurting our performance and productivity. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond.

If you choose to resolve an issue with a boss or co-worker, make sure you pick your time wisely (not when either of you are exhausted or angry), and try these steps:

  1. Think about the end goal: What do you really want? To be heard? Have a better relationship? We’re more successful when we have a destination in mind.
  2. Begin the conversation on a positive note: For instance: “I love the new proposal you shared.”
  3. Then, segue way into the main event: “I think we need to talk about what happened last week.” Never begin by saying “You.” It puts your audience on the defensive. Tell the story from your point of view, instead of pointing fingers.
  4. Stay in control: Don’t raise your voice and watch your tone. Confidence is all about self control.
  5. Be brief: Don’t go on and on. Say what you need to say, and get to the point, without constant repetition. Often, we tend to get nervous if our audience is just staring and not speaking, and we try to fill the silence by babbling on. Please don’t do this.
  6. Allow time for your audience to respond: You may be surprised that they see your point, or you may be disappointed that they still don’t.
  7. Try to end on a positive note: Even if you still don’t agree, say “I’m glad we had this opportunity to speak, and I appreciate you taking the time.” And that brings up the next point…
  8. Manage your expectations: Know that while you might not get exactly what you want, respect yourself for trying.  Being confident is about your own self esteem and assertiveness.

If you decide the situation doesn’t call for the resolve technique, or if you use it and reach an impasse instead of the desired result, then it’s time for make up rule #2—dissolve it.

Let it go. Shrug it off. Move on.

Most of all: forgive yourself and the other person.

That’s the sign of a true pro.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

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