Joseph M. Delghingaro


Accountant/Business Analyst


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Conflict Resolution

15 September 2013 | Category: Default | Author: Joe Delghingaro

 

Tell me about a time when you were working on a group project or in a team and someone conflicted against the group?
 
This question has been posed in many ways. The theme remains, one person rises up against the group and creates conflict against the group. I actually like this scenario because in real life this person has a lot of character, pride and passion. Lets just hope that the person is not a troublemaker.
 
I think it would be safe to assume we have dealt with this person at one point or another in our lives, whether a coworker, sibling, friend or you. This could have been as simple as disagreeing on which movie to go see on a Friday night. How do I deal with this conflict? The first time, of magnitude, that I experienced was at the University of Illinois. I was still in my undergrad and had just been assigned a group project along with a random set of teammates. One person in our group was particularly quiet and didn’t care for meet up. Not that any of us really wanted to spend much time in the computer lab, nevertheless it was what we had to do. We all got together discussed the assignment and broke it apart into separate sub pieces. We divided those pieces out and left to get back to work. A few days later we reconvened to put it all together, everyone approved, and we (for the most part) were done. “I’ll proof read everything and make sure that the language flows from one person to the next, then submit it.” The Quiet Guy Said.  This was fine with us.
 
For some reason, the Professor sent it back to me after submission to ask me a question, I open it, and it was not what we did. Not even close and boy was I mad. My first reaction was to call my brother, who has always been a mentor, to gripe about it. I was barely able to speak,
 
“Joe! Have to called you group yet?” replied my brother
 
“Nope” I replied
 
“Go to Blockbuster right now and rent 12 Angry Men. The old one, its black and white. Then you can call back if you want.”
 
That was a game changer. If you have not seen the movie (12 Angry Men), this is a film that takes you in the deliberation room as 11 jurors are ready to seal the fate of one man’s life. Leveraging on the basis of Reasonable Doubt in a murder trial, 1 Juror rises against them and casts the opposite vote. This juror then goes around the room and gains the support of each remaining Juror showing the influence you can receive gaining the power of the group.
 
That’s what Quiet Guy did wrong, and that’s what I was not going to do wrong. I called him and explained that he should have spoken up, and it was my fault for not noticing that he might have something else to say or add. I apologized and asked him to tell the group about the change. His change might be correct, But I learned a bigger lesson then the assignment, Conflict resolution.
 
Now a situation that doesn’t present itself as often is
 
Describe the way you handled a specific problem involving others with differing values, ideas and beliefs in your current/ previous job?
 
It is difficult to pinpoint a correct answer when there are beliefs involved is a “no win scenario”. A common example of this in my career comes when disagreeing on monthly forecasts. When I began preparing Mid-Month Forecasts, it was hard for me to accept criticism and not take it personally. The truth is whenever you do anything that you take to heart, and there are clashing beliefs, conflicts ensues. It’s almost a work Tornado. How do I handle the work Tornado? As methodically as possible.
 
1.Walk away – it’s always good to take a few minutes to clear your head or give others time to clear theirs. This break will allow both parties time to gather produce rational thoughts to reintroduce into the situation.
 
2.Deal with it – Upon returning, immediately deal with the issue that caused the frustration. Pushing this off will only delay the inevitable and cause it to manifest into a bigger dilemma when it is addressed. Also, NEVER take anything to a personal level. When the temperaments rise, it can be easy to cross that line, and that must not happen.
 
3.Mediation – Having a neutral party act as a mediator to help sort the facts will let the facts speak for themselves. Typically the endgame is to achieve a better result at something. Either way, everyone will win.
 
4.Resolution – Make sure that the negotiation/compromise is acceptable by all parties or your going to be right back at the beginning.
 
This is the path I follow when conflict arises. The fact is we have a job to do, and we both want to do our best. It is likely that we are both correct; we just have to find the negotiation point where we can come together and meld our difference in opinions to produce the best outcome.

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