Preventing Workplace Conflict in Ag
May 16, 2019
There Are Down To Earth Tools To Lower Stress
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
It's essential to learn how to navigate agricultural workplace conflict to help keep the workplace safe for all employees.
Dr. Linda Thomas is vice-chancellor of Educational Services and Workforce Development at West Hills Community College District. She's also a senior consultant at Linda Thomas Consulting.
She said that anytime you deal with people where you potentially have conflict, some people will get angry and try to power up and deal with it that way, whereas other people try to shy away from it, but neither one of those is the way to handle it.
“There are some down-to-earth tools that you can use to calm yourself and to work through the process. And when you do that, we call it conflict transformation, and you can get to a better place than you were before,” Thomas said.
“People shouldn't be afraid of it; they should just understand that there's a way to move through it and they can get to the other side.”
She noted that it's essential to avoid high-stress situations in the workplace.
“That’s the key, because when the stress gets high, you have a lot of negative effects. There is an increase in insurance costs and high absenteeism and people quit, and you have low productivity and low morale, so you can't just let conflict simmer,” Thomas said.
“You can't pretend that it's going to go away and you can't, make it go away,” Thomas continued. “You have to work through it. And a lot of people are concerned about working through it. But I think the number one takeaway about working through it is to examine yourself. You need to know what your hot buttons are. You have to know what makes you mad or what makes you stressed out. And you have to understand that.”
Thomas recommended that when you're engaging constructive discussion about the conflict itself, you have to say, "okay, I'm starting to feel angry now," and take a step back, timeout, whatever it needs to be.
Thomas said we need to come at it with a logical point of view. Because if you do that, whether you're a business owner or a manager or a leader, you can have a reasonable point of view on it.
“Ask yourself, 'what do I need to get out of it?' You can see your way through it a lot better than you can if you don't know what to do or how to do it, and your emotions have overwhelmed you,” she explained
For help in conflict resolution click here.