The 10 Rules of Management Conflict
The other day I was interviewed for a story entitled "Conan O'Brien is living the ultimate employee fantasy." In venting his frustrations with NBC's management, Conan achieved personal satisfaction, high ratings, and $40 million to go away.
Sure, he burned some bridges. But look at it this way: NBC screwed him and he vented. That's a wash in my book. All in all, I'd say he made out okay.
But the whole incident got me thinking: we hear loads about bosses who are jerks, but what about employees who are jerks? What about public displays of vehement disagreement bordering on insubordination? I mean, when and how is it okay to disagree with the boss? Is it always okay to speak your mind? Is it ever a good idea to disparage your management, as Conan did?
To answer these and other thorny questions, I've come up with a set of rules. If you're angry at your boss or disagree with management and feel the need to speak up, ignore this list at your peril: Tobak's 10 Rules of Management Conflict
1. Stay calm. Never react in anger or blow your stack. If you're so POd that you can't trust yourself to be calm, then go away and come back when you can. The workplace is no place for that kind of behavior, period. 2. Attack the problem, not the person. When you criticize or attack someone personally, you risk burning a bridge. Focus on the real issues at hand. You know, what the company actually pays you to do. 3. Be open and honest. The second you grit your teeth, cross your arms, and close your mind, you give in to stubborn childish behavior. But if you remain open and keep your wits about you, you'll manage to do the right thing in a tough situation. 4. Don't lose perspective. Try to remember that you're being paid to do a job, not to fight a war. The workplace is about business. You know, customers, products, that sort of thing. It's not about you ... or him. 5. Try to be...
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