Conflict Resolution

Finding Time: Utilize Time Conflicts With Coworkers as Strategic Opportunities

Paula Eder asked:

Finding time may seem to depend on full consensus between you and your coworkers. But probably differences exist between how you and they relate to punctuality, planning and procrastination. Sometimes these differences seem light years apart, threatening to stall progress on essential projects.

However, you can learn how to utilize this to everyone’s mutual benefit. Approaching conflicting outlooks proactively can enhance cooperation and productivity in ways that will surprise you. Furthermore, you can carry these skills into every area of your life. Cultivating these skills will improve communication and open up fresh options with friends, family and anyone else you need to coordinate schedules with.

What potential benefits can you tap by making the best of conflicting time styles?

Opportunity #1: Clarify what’s of prime importance to you. Pare it down and negotiate for it. Every strength you develop increases your resilience and decisiveness.

Opportunity #2: Attune yourself to others’ varying approaches to time use. Genuinely accepting individual differences in time styles will benefit you in four ways:

First, accepting that others won’t change for you spares you the frustration of repetitive and fruitless efforts to control others.

Second, when people notice you are not trying to change them, they feel more relaxed and receptive.

Third, when your colleagues feel respected, they are increasingly likely to negotiate successfully with you.

Fourth, effective compromising increases flexibility and clarifies lines of power and responsibility. Different time styles often reflect different priorities. Explore how this can work to your mutual advantage. For example, one of you might accept added responsibility if you can make your own hours. The other might hold down the fort 9:00 – 5:00 in return for not taking work home.

Opportunity #3: Commit to creativity. Thinking outside the box carries negotiations beyond rigid power struggles. For every problem, there is a resolution that honors the integrity and needs of each person.

Opportunity #4: Present the challenge in terms of shared goals. Keep the focus on the rewards you and your colleagues will enjoy. This stimulates cooperation.

Opportunity #5: Invite others to contribute ideas. The more invested everyone is in the problem-solving process, the more dedicated they will be to making it work.

Negotiating different approaches to time use will challenge each of you to grow. Instead of presenting necessary changes as sacrifices, identify the benefits and address the baseline needs of everyone involved. You will develop vitality and confidence to encounter challenging conditions in ways that improve morale, promote effectiveness and save you time.

What is your next step to find more time?

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