Stress, Anger, Time and Conflict Management

1. Avoid unnecessary stress.
Learn how to say “no”.
Avoid people who stress you out.
Take control of your environment.
Avoid hot-button topics.
Pare down your to-do lists.

2. Alter the situation.
Express your feelings instead of bottling them up.
Be willing to compromise.
Be more assertive.
Manage your time better.

3. Accept the things you can’t change.
Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.
Look for the upside.
Share your feelings.
Learn to forgive.

4. Adapt to the stressor.
Reframe problems.
Look at the big picture.
Adjust your standards.
Focus on the positive.

B. Stress Reduction Tips

1. Nurture yourself
Set aside relaxation time.
Connect with others.
Do something you enjoy every day.
Keep your sense of humor.

2. Healthy stress reducers
Go for a walk.
Spend time in nature.
Talk to a supportive friend.
Sweat out tension with a good workout.
Do something for someone else.
Write in your journal.
Take a long bath.
Play with a pet.
Work in your garden.
Get a message.
Curl up with a good book.
Take a yoga class.
Listen to music.
Watch a comedy.

3. Adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise regularly.
Eat a healthy diet.
Reduce caffeine and sugar.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.
Get enough sleep.

C. Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Stress

Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs
Using sleeping pills or tranquilizers to relax
Overeating or eating too little
Sleeping too much
Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems

Anger Management

Redford Williams’ 12-Step Approach for Dealing with Unconstructive Anger

1. Maintain a “Hostility Log”.
2. If you do, acknowledge that you have a problem managing anger. 3. Use your support network.
4. Use anger management techniques to interrupt the anger cycle. Pause.
Take deep breaths.
Tell yourself you can handle the situation.
Stop the negative thoughts.
5. Use empathy.
6. Laugh at yourself.
7. Relax.
8. Build trust.
9. Listen.
10. Be assertive.
11. Live each day as if it is your last.
12. Forgive

Time Management
Conflict Management

A. How to Manage Your Time

1. Create a schedule or to-do list. Write down deadlines for accomplishing certain tasks.

2. Plan to tackle difficult projects at the times of day when you are most alert.

3. Schedule time for people, including time for yourself. Create some personal time by waking up half an hour earlier or going to bed half an hour later than usual; plan a weekly date with your spouse, or arrange to have lunch with friends.

4. Prioritize what you need to accomplish. “Pareto’s principle” states that 80 percent of your accomplishments come from 20 percent of your effort, so think strategically: Locate and isolate this valuable 20 percent, then focus your efforts on the tasks that promise the greatest rewards.

A. How to set priorities
Priority 1: Red: Today/Tomorrow (Day)
Priority 2: Orange: 3-7 Days (Week)
Priority 3: Yellow: 2-3 weeks (Month)
Priority 4: Later this year…(Wish List)

B. Be realistic when assigning priorities to your tasks.

C. Start work on any red tasks first – however awful, boring or frightening they are. The trick to keeping calm and balanced is simple: forget about all the complex planning. Work out what truly needs to be done next and do it. When it’s done, repeat the procedure.

D. Start on the orange task next. Don’t even think about any yellow ones until all the reds and oranges are done. If any new tasks arrive, give them a color and put them on the list. Next morning, make a new list and reallocate the tasks into the colors.

E. Keep track of your progress.
After one week, take 15 minutes to go through the yellow (month) items. Cross all those that have solved themselves off the list. Do the same for those that you can now see were never important anyway. You’ll be amazed how many there are. Underline those you can remove by: delegating them, using technology rather than your time and attention, or creating a routine for handling them so you can delegate or pass them to someone else. Make a red item to deal with them right away by whatever means is appropriate.

5. Delegate as many chores as you can. Hand out projects to subordinates at work.

6. Learn to say no to nonessential demands on your time. Don’t volunteer for a committee if you don’t have time, and decline invitations to events you don’t have time to attend.

7. Overcome procrastination.
Don’t procrastinate. Setting aside high-priority items just because you don’t like doing them, or are boring, etc will obviously make keeping a to-do list useless. Grind through your to-do list and finish all red items first and foremost no matter how boring they are. After completing these daunting tasks, you can feel relieved. They won’t hang over your head and cause you stress later.

8. Avoid perfectionism. Don’t waste time obsessively perfecting a task when you could better spend the time on something else.

B. Time Management for New Supervisors

a. Maintain a calendar of appointments and keep it with you at all times. b. Write things down so you don’t forget. Maintain a “To do” list and prioritize the entries. c. Set realistic deadlines for yourself. Then, promise small and deliver big. If you think your team can get a project done by noon, promise it for 2:00 p.m. but deliver it at noon. d. When you are on a deadline, use your voicemail. Filter out all but essential telephone calls. e. Use e-mail instead of the telephone whenever possible. This will avoid the tendency people have to talk longer than is necessary to convey their information. f. With paperwork, practice the principle of “Do It Now.” g. Always plan to arrive at scheduled appointments ten minutes early.

It almost always takes longer to get there than you think. h. Practice gently helping people get to the point when they are talking to you. Save superfluous chatting for excess time after work. i. Hold impromptu and unscheduled “drop-in” meetings standing up. This will convey a sense of brevity to the person who wants some of your time. j. When you call a meeting, specify both a starting and an ending time. This will keep participants on track and on schedule. k. Get rid of unnecessary paper clutter. More than 80 percent of the paperwork filed is never used again. Ask yourself if you really need it before deciding to keep paperwork.


I. What My Boss Could Do that Would Help Me Perform My Job More Effectively

1. Discuss my job priorities with me so that we both have the same understanding of how I should be distributing my time and effort over the various activities of my job. 2. Give advance warning when big jobs are coming up so I can prepare for them. 3. Let me know when you are leaving the office, where you are going, and when you will return. 4. Write messages legibly.

5. Draft or outline memos so that multiple revisions are minimized.
6. Let me know what your priorities are so I can help you with the most important items.
7. Discuss my job, my job duties, and my career with me.

8. Call in or send email messages while on a trip for important messages that have come in while you’re away.
9. Have us meet each morning to discuss projects and priorities of the day.
10. Let me show you our file system so you can retrieve files yourself.
11. Try to give me all parts of a big job at once rather than in bits and pieces.
12. Show a little appreciation when I do a good job.

13. Get your own coffee when I am swamped with work.
14. Let me set up a message center where you can pick up your mail and other
15. Protect me from other managers. If I can’t count on you then I can’t count on anyone.
16. Give me a list of your appointments so I can anticipate things to do and prepare.
17. Give me clear instructions and directions and precise assignments.
18. Let me know about changes in your schedule, meetings, appointments, etc.
19. Please don’t refer to me as “just my staff” or “my gal” or “my girl.”
20. Provide me with some career guidance; I am ambitious just as you are.
21. Don’t make me a clerk; I want to and can do more.

22. Attend a time management for managers workshop.
23. Make a daily “to do” list and share it with me so I can anticipate how to plan my day.
24. Ask for and at least consider my ideas. I am not stupid and I want to contribute more.
25. If multiple bosses, work a priority system for the work that you all give me and let me administer your system rather than force me to make priority decisions upward for all of you.
26. Give the larger projects and jobs as early in the day as possible so I have time for completion.
27. Don’t spend so much time on chit-chat with me. It prevents me from doing my job.
28. Please don’t question or challenge everything I do. I want to be responsible and have the responsibility of my job. 29. When you communicate, please be specific.

30. Let me know how you want callers and visitors screened. We can work a system that will benefit both of us.
31. Don’t have me file a lot of unnecessary papers. Let’s toss out stuff that we both know we will never refer to again. 32. Give me reasonable deadlines for jobs. It really hurts to rush to meet your deadlines and then see those jobs sit on your desks for days (or weeks) untouched.
33. Don’t be a perfectionist. It takes too much of your time and mine.
34. Set up a follow-up system so we can both stay on top of things.
35. Let’s try and agree on time frames for jobs and projects.
36. Try to block certain times during the day for meetings rather than have them chop up the both of us continuously.
37. Trust me with confidential information that I need to do my job effectively.
38. When we are talking, please try to listen better.

II. What I Could Do As A Support Personnel that Would Help My Boss to Work
More Effectively

1. All the things under Item I would help the boss to work more effectively.
2. Let the boss know where I am at all times.
3. Sort mail of boss into three groups: critical, important, routine and toss out junk mail.
4. Help boss to maintain a daily “to do” list.
5. Keep my own daily “to do” list and coordinate with list of boss.
6. Remind boss of upcoming meetings, appointments, lunches, etc.
7. Screen and always try to help callers and visitors so at least some of them will not interrupt the boss.
8. Update my skills in the use of present technology in my job, including my time management skills.
9. Answer routine correspondence or outline or draft answers for approval of boss.
10. Ignore petty and superficial annoyances.

11. Schedule staff visitors so boss is not chopped up all day.
12. Schedule vendor visitors; require an appointment and suggest certain days for batching.
13. Work out a system for interrupting boss stuck with long-winded callers or visitors.
14. Make up file out-card system so boss knows where all files can be located.
15. Take the initiative and make suggestions such as form letters, forms, to help boss.
16. Keep equipment used by boss in proper condition.

17. Help boss to organize and maintain a neat work area.
18. Function as a sounding board for ideas of boss.
19. Keep pending and follow files to prevent procrastination and crises for boss.
20. Keep boss informed through progress reports of long-term projects I am working on.
21. Be sure supplies used by boss are always available.
22. Help boss by making most of the arrangements for meetings held by boss.

Conflict Management

What is conflict?

Conflict is a natural disagreement resulting from individuals or groups that
differ in attitudes, beliefs, values or needs. It can also originate from past rivalries and personality differences. Other causes of conflict include trying to negotiate before the timing is right or before needed information is available.

Common causes of workplace conflict

Limited resources (You have your needs and I have mine.)
Incompatible goals (I want this and you want that.)
Role ambiguity (Who is responsible for what?)
Different values (You and I have different beliefs.)
Different perspectives (You and I see things differently.)
Communication problems (What do you mean?)

Important things to know about conflict:

Conflict is inevitable;
Conflict develops because we are dealing with people’s lives, jobs, children, pride, self-concept, ego and sense of mission or purpose; Early indicators of conflict can be recognized;
There are strategies for resolution that are available and DO work; Although inevitable, conflict can be minimized, diverted and/or resolved.

Beginnings of conflict:

Poor communication
Seeking power
Dissatisfaction with management style
Weak leadership
Lack of openness
Change in leadership

Conflict indicators:

Body language
Disagreements, regardless of issue
Withholding bad news
Strong public statements
Airing disagreements through media
Conflicts in value system
Desire for power
Increasing lack of respect
Open disagreement
Lack of candor on budget problems or other sensitive issues
Lack of clear goals
No discussion of progress, failure relative to goals, failure to evaluate the superintendent fairly, thoroughly or at all.

Conflict is destructive when it:

Takes attention away from other important activities
Undermines morale or self-concept
Polarizes people and groups, reducing cooperation
Increases or sharpens difference
Leads to irresponsible and harmful behavior, such as fighting, name-calling

Conflict is constructive when it:

Results in clarification of important problems and issues
Results in solutions to problems
Involves people in resolving issues important to them
Causes authentic communication
Helps releases emotion, anxiety, and stress
Builds cooperation among people through learning more about each other; joining in resolving the conflict Helps individuals develop understanding and skills

Techniques for avoiding and/or resolving subordinate-supervisor conflict:

Meet conflict head on
Set goals
Plan for and communicate frequently
Be honest about concerns
Agree to disagree – understand healthy disagreement would build better decisions Get individual ego out of management style
Let your team create – people will support what they help create Discuss differences in values openly
Continually stress the importance of following policy
Communicate honestly – avoid playing “gotcha” type games Provide more needed data and information.
Develop a sound management system

Causes of subordinate-supervisor conflict:

Trying to be administrators; overstepping authority
Making promises as members individually
Involving themselves in labor relations
Not doing their “homework” and failing to prepare for meetings Not following procedures for handling complaints
Not keeping executive session information confidential
Failing to act on sensitive issues
Failing to be open and honest with the supervisor
Making decisions based on preconceived notions
Not supporting the supervisor – lack of loyalty
Springing surprises at meetings
Having hidden agendas

Why conflict resolution skills are important

To improve employee performance
To maintain good customer service/satisfaction
To ensure employee safety
To protect employee health
To reduce absenteeism and tardiness

How conflict should be handled

Determine how important the issue is to all people involved
Determine whether all people involved are willing and able to discuss the issue in a positive manner Select a private place where the issue can be discussed confidentially by everyone involved Make sure that both sides understand they are responsible for both the problem and the solution Solicit opening comments from both sides. Let them express their concerns, feelings, ideas, and thoughts, but in a non-accusatory manner Guide participants toward a clear and specific definition of the problem Encourage participants to propose solutions while you listen carefully. Examine the problem from a variety of different perspectives and discuss any and all solutions proposed. Evaluate the costs versus the gains (cost-benefit analysis) of all proposed solutions and discuss them openly. Choose the best solution. Reflect on the issue and discuss the conflict resolution process. Encourage participants to express their opinions as to how the process might be improved.

Listening improvement checklist to help resolve conflict

Remove all distractions
Put the speaker at ease
Look directly at the speaker
Concentrate on what is being said
Watch for nonverbal cues
Take note of the speaker’s tone
Be patient and wait
Ask clarifying questions
Paraphrase and repeat
No matter what is said, control your emotions

How and when conflict should be stimulated

Team members always agree with you and tell you only what you want to hear.
Team members are afraid to admit they need help or that they’ve made mistakes. Team members focus more on reaching agreement that on arriving at the best decision. Team members focus more on getting along with others than on accomplishing objectives. Team members place more emphasis on being popular than on high job performance and competitiveness. Team members are highly resistant to change.

The turnover rate is usually low.
Team members avoid proposing new ideas.

Communication in conflict situations

Communicate the following messages when handling conflicts or potential conflicts:

This situation is an opportunity to solve a problem cooperatively. There are guidelines we will follow in handling this situation and these guidelines are… We will not engage in blaming and finger pointing.

“If the horse you are riding dies, get off and find another one.” We will not cling to old ideas that are no longer valid. If you say you will do something, do it. Trust prevents conflict.

Conflict Management Strategies

When it is used
Collaboration – results from a high concern for the group’s own interests, matched with a high concern for the interest of other partners. Best strategy when society’s interest is at stake
Best approach for managing conflict when it’s aimed at reaching consensus Win/win
Helps build commitment and reduce bad feelings
Takes time and energy
Some partners may take advantage of the others’ trust and openness

Guidelines for Reaching Consensus through Collaboration

Avoid arguing over individual ranking or position. Present a position as logically as possible. Avoid “win-lose” statements. Discard the notion that someone must win. Avoid changing of minds only in order to avoid conflict and to achieve harmony. Avoid majority voting, averaging, bargaining, or coin flipping. These do not lead to consensus. Treat differences of opinion as indicative of incomplete sharing of relevant information, keep asking questions. Keep the attitude that holding different views is both natural and healthy to a group. View initial agreement as suspect. Explore the reasons underlying apparent agreement and make sure that members have willingly agreed.

Compromise – results from a high concern for the group’s own interest with a moderate concern for the interests of other partners. Generally used to achieve temporary solutions, to avoid destructive power struggles or when time pressures exist. Win some/lose some

Partners can lose sight of important values and long-term objectives. Can distract the partners from the merits of an issue and create a cynical climate.

When it is used
Competition – results from a high concern for the group’s own interests with less concern for others. Generally used when basic rights are at stake or set a precedent. Win/lose
Includes most attempts at bargaining
Can cause conflict to escalate and losers may try to retaliate. Accommodation – results from a concern for the group’s own interests combined with a high concern for the interest of other partners Generally used when the issue is more important to others than to you. Appropriate when you recognize that
you are wrong.

“Goodwill gesture”
Your own ideas and concerns don’t get attention
One may lose credibility and future influence.
Avoidance – results from a concern for the group’s own interests coupled with a low concern for the interest of others. Generally used when the issue is trivial or other issues are more pressing. Used when confrontation has a high potential for damage or more information is needed. Lose/lose

Important decisions may be made by default.

What do you think?

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