Culture in the workplace is quickly becoming recognized as the most influential element of a successful team and a strong business. A culture where conflict and infighting or politics reign supreme is destined for trouble. Collaboration and teamwork should be the top priority anyone interested in growing their career and ensuring long term success for an organization. Now of course conflicts come up. People won’t always agree on process or practice. But the professionals who get ahead are the ones who know how to effectively navigate workplace conflict. Here’s the one rule that can help you rise above it all. Take some of the blame yourself.
Here’s why that one rule can make all the difference.
1. It shows maturity
Playing the blame game at work is never a good look, and will only pit one team member against another. But it takes a confident and mature professional to take ownership of the problem and be proactive in how it gets solved. Your teammates and your managers are looking to you to be a leader even if you are not in a role of leadership. Enabling your coworkers to do their best work through taking the high road, being mature even when conflicts are adding stress and blocking your success, proves you to be a true asset to your team and willing to tackle problems head-on.
2. Taking responsibility helps others work with you, rather than against you
Rarely is a problem ever only one person’s fault. There may be conflicts arising from lack of communication, misaligned expectations, and even misinformation. Mistakes happen. Communication gets mixed up. But if no one has the guts to take responsibility, no problem will ever get solved. Taking at least some of the responsibility for a conflict will allow those in the same situation to work with you toward a solution, rather than fight against you as an opponent. Collaboration is hard, and nobody is perfect. But reacting defensively to conflicts and remaining closed off or stubborn in the face of problem-solving gets no one where they need to be.
3. It allows for an open dialogue between co-workers
Taking a bit of the blame for a mistake or problem is an act of vulnerability. It opens the door to helpful feedback and real problem-solving. Too often conflict occurs because of a lack of communication between individuals, but by opening up, that relationship for more dialogue with a willingness to own up to your mistakes will allow others to do the same. Encouraging that sort of vulnerability and acceptance is what will make the difference in individual conflict, but also in establishing long term relationships that drive businesses forward into greater success.
No professional will go through their career without making some mistakes. The ones that succeed are the ones who take ownership of and learn from their mistakes. They are key to the kind of culture that keeps businesses thriving and teams operating successfully.
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