Three key strategies to resolve disputes in the office

Three key strategies to help you resolve conflicts or disputes in the office.

So you’ve had a situation in the office with your co worker, boss or your biz partner. What do you do?  How do you resolve it.  How do you keep your game face on and rise above it all? strategies for resolving disputes at work

What strategies can you pull out of your bag or your backpack to deal with the situation in a positive, up lifting, professional way? Don’t forget you absolutely rock at what you do. You’re at the top of your game, working your way, up that ladder, or your business is starting to have traction with your ideal customers and clients, plus you have a winning team.

My story… the world of TV

I worked with a very strange bunch.  Some of us are still in touch to this very day and are very good friends.  We often laugh about some of the situations especially this story I’m about to tell you about.

It was a small french owned network based in central London with reporting and managing lines to the US , (so you can already picture or imagine the issues which would be at play).

We created adverts for clients all over the world but as worked in DRTV, everything we did, every bit of money we spent had to be accounted for.  Each spot (what we called an advert)  had to have a return on investment in order to make it on air the follow week.

To cut a long story short, it was a highly pressurised working environment.    Our boss was a charismatic guy with tons of contacts and knowledge in the industry.  He took me under his wings as his unofficial second in command.

But not only was he witty, popular, friendly and energetic…

He was also a shouty kinda guy, [who later tried to tell me “I just happen to have an exceptionally loud voice”] with a very abrasive manner, rude, arrogant, and a big bully.   He was over 6 foot 3 inches.  This dude would frequently come into the office, [Monday mornings] usually after all the ads had aired for the previous week and reporting was due.

He would arrive shouting, swearing, cursing and irritable.  He would usually  [and I have to change the name of my ex colleague] bark orders at (lets call her Susan) for not being quick enough, or for not answering loud enough to his repeated drill of questions.  The questions came out of his mouth like a machine gun.  The words he chose also stung and hurt in a similar fashion too.


I would usually find said colleague [Susan] teary eyed in the toilets.  Each time I would ask her if I could help and speak with him about his approach and she would tell me not to get involved.

My approach

What I did do when he got in these moods (despite Susan’s request) was to defuse the situation, either by having the answers at hand or by asking everyone whether they wanted a coffee.  You see I could be loud too.  But I was a kinda bouncy, bubbly loud. Coffee was a great strategy for this bully, as this seemed to be what he and everyone in my team craved early in the morning.  But you get the picture – not a great situation to be involved in especially early in the morning.

It came to ahead one morning

It was the morning we were about to have a call with our US office.  Things were not looking great for my boss, there had been some issues.  He strode into the office that Monday, and  yes you guessed it, started to shout and bark at me.

I was absolutely stunned.

I opened my mouth to say something like [sing the Whitney Huston song, “my name is not Susan”… in fact Susan was the one with big boobs, she was short, with blonde hair and very pale white skin – I mean, please… completely opposite in every way…] I did not say that of course.  I answered the questions and professionally, slowly and calmly,

yes [boss man], can we please set up a meeting later today to discuss this. I’ll try and find a suitable time as we are both back to back”

I kept a log of the issue

I left it at that and immediately went to get my coffee and everyone else’s that wanted one . I just needed to get out of the office, I took this break from the situation, to breathe and calm down.  I then proceeded to dictate a note to myself.  The note summarised the date,  time and word for word exchanges between my boss and I.

When I got back to the office I had already scheduled a meeting to sit down with him to get to the bottom of his behaviour.  I also approached my team and asked them if I could collectively support them when I spoke with our boss. They were all eager for me to address the situation as quite rightly they were on edge, ready to leave, find another job and upset by his behaviour, apart from Susan (she was really anxious) and didn’t want to have anything to do with bringing this issue to his attention.

My meeting request was forgotten, ignored and denied

My meeting was of course moved several times that day,  and the days that followed.  Eventually we sat down and I outlined the issues of working together as a collective team and better ways of communication that would make for a more productive, positive team.  I then explained what it felt like to be shouted out in front of my team.  And ask him to imagine how that could make the wider team feel.

I did not go in there shouting and crying about how I was shouted at and made to feel like a idiot in front of my colleagues. I didn’t not even have to mention the word bully.  Well I did  – which he outwardly denied saying that he was disadvantaged because he had a naturally loud tone.

This story does have a happy ending.  I was promoted and my pay was increased I was given a director title and was looked at like a serious contender within the management team.

So let me list below my three key strategies so you can see them clearly for what they were.  I’m not going to say that you’ll get a pay rise and a promotion, but who knows you may just well…

1) Professionalism is crucial
It’s very easy to react in an emotional, irrational way. We’re only human right. And at times though, it can be a challenge. However when you are professional it means you’ll always be respected by your peers and admired by your juniors.  You’ll alway be right and this does wonders for your profile within your company and your confidence.
2) Talking does not cook rice
It’s wise to ignore anti-social unprofessional behaviour but stand your ground. But what exactly does stand your ground means? Well, it can mean different things in different situations. Remember the wise Chinese saying, ‘talking does not cook rice.’ This famous Chinese proverb reminds us that thinking, planning, wondering and talking — about something won’t get us anywhere.
3) We need to take action.
Keep a journal of incidents, situations, write them down, and document them as if they were official documents. Who said or did what and when. I also like to write down how the situation made me feel, because emotions are powerful tools and who knows you may need these notes later.
Wanna read more then check these links and here.

Choices that turn into opportunities

Whatever you do, remember we all have choices and opportunities to turn things around in a positive light for us.

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Stay chilled, blessed and make time for you!😘

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