No, I was not watching Frozen this weekend, but rather was thinking about the unrest that festers in the workplace. More and more people are feeling slighted and holding onto these perceived slights to the detriment of their health and the health of their team.
Instead of moving forward and working towards common goals, people are pushing their agenda to vindicate that they feel are affronts to their character, intellect or abilities. Many times, the anger stems from a manager’s criticism of their work. Other times it is because a company decides to fund or green light a competing project.
If you are going to be a true leader, you are going to need to work through these issues and get your team back on track. Much like parenting every child is different, dealing with an “insulted” team member is unique. You are going to need to:
- Have Two Way Communication. Most grudges happen over miscommunications. You need to speak openly, honestly, and respectfully so the person understands where you are coming from and that you understand their position as well. Speaking from the mountain top does not help heal wounds.
- Forgive, But Not Forget. You need to be the bigger person as the leader. Forgive the person who wronged you or accept the apology of someone who slighted you. But also learn from the experience- both about how you could have handled it better and how you can manage through the situation better with that colleague. Don’t repeat the same mistakes.
- Keep It Close to Your Vest. The lasting thing that needs to happen is for the disagreement to go public and have people choose sides. That may work in movies, but in business, chasms are really hard to close and overcome. The end result is a poorly functioning team where no one wins. Here is an obvious lesson, but needs to be said if you are asked which side you are on, simply state that you are Switzerland.
As a leader, you need to massage egos all day to get what you want accomplished. Do not let yours be the biggest in the room. Stay focused, grounded, and engaged to keep your team working well.