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Prevention In The Workplace - Using Cooperative Communication
Prevention In The Workplace is part of our Keypoint series--short
books of under 100 pages that focus on a particular workplace issue. It's
premise is that we can gain far more from preventing conflict in the workplace
than by waiting until we need to manage conflict once it occurs.
By learning about and
using cooperative communication techniques, other individual strategies,
and team conflict reduction strategies, teams and workgroups can reduce
the level of unnecessary destructive conflict while dealing more effectively
with conflict that can be harnessed to produce positive results.
Who Will Benefit?
Everyone can benefit from
using conflict prevention techniques, but they are essential for teams
of any kind, or individuals who find themselves often involved in time-consuming
frustrating conflict situations.
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Inside - Table of Contents (subject to slight change)
Preface (READ NOW)
Conflict In Organizations
- An Overview (READ NOW)
The Inevitability of Conflict
Good Organizational Conflict
Contributors to Ugly
Conflict In The Workplace
Cooperative VS Conflict Provoking Communication
Cooperative Vs. Conflict-Provoking
The Essential Difference:
The Psychology Beneath
Cooperation & Confrontation...16
What Angers People Or
Primes The Conflict Pump
A Brief Conflict-Provoking Communication
Lack of Listening/Understanding
ďLess ThanĒ Communication
Violations of Conversation
Specific Conflict-Provoking Behaviours
Replacing Conflict Provoking Communication
With Cooperative Communication
Person Centred Comments &
Past Centred Comments
and Positive Thinking
Lengthy Attempts At Persuasion
Extended Attempts To Win
Overstatements and Over-generalizations
Infallibility Comments (and
Histrionic Behaviour (Overdramatization)
Use Of Hot Phrases and Words
Words or phrases that suggest
Phrases that blame or imply
blame or suggest ignorance
Phrases that suggest helplessness
Phrases that have a threatening
Phrases that challenge or
Use of Code Words and Innuendo
cooperative oriented language and behaviour that can be used to replace
conflict provoking behaviour. Concludes with a handy replacement chart
that can be used as an on the job reference.)
General Cooperative Communication Strategies
Active Or Reflective
Organization, Team, and Management Involvement
In Conflict Prevention
I. Steps In The Responsiveness
II. The Responsive Team Memberís
Norms, and Processes
How Do You Make Rules
& Guidelines A Reality?
The Role of Those In
Also, sections on electronic
communication, how to handle people who insist on behaving badly and a
question and answer section.
After almost a decade
teaching people how to defuse hostile, angry people, it occurred to me
that defusing angry or difficult people is only half the story. Getting
along with people in the workplace -- with bosses, customers and co-workers,
isnít just about dealing with conflict when it occurs, but about learning
how to prevent destructive conflict from happening in the first place.
Defusing hostile, manipulative
people is important, since there will be situations where, unprovoked,
people will treat you badly no matter what you do. Iíve now come to the
conclusion that a good amount of workplace conflict simply isnít necessary.
It is created because people (and that means all of us) do and say things
that are likely to cause conflict. Usually we donít do so intentionally.
We do so because we arenít aware of how our own behaviour; the ways we
communicate, actually contribute to creating problems for ourselves and
for those around us.
While we arenít always
aware of how we create interpersonal problems, we all know enough about
language and communication to know what helps us work well with others,
and what contributes to rocky relationships. Itís just that we donít use
more cooperative approaches consistently. Sometimes we forget, or are frustrated
and annoyed, or have a bad day. Then we slip up, and create conflict that
The good news is that
all of us can learn new ways of communicating, and ďrememberĒ to use what
we already know without a great deal of study and effort. We donít have
to start from scratch. What we need to do is uncover and make use of what
we already know, and learn to use those skills consistently and effectively.
Thatís where this ďKeypoint
SeriesĒ book is going to help. Our goal is to help you use what you already
know about getting along with people, and introduce some communication
issues you may not have considered. We set out the elements of communication
that tend to create workplace conflict, and we provide you with specific,
concrete and practical ways to replace those conflict causing elements
with more cooperative ways of communicating.
Making Use of This Book
Communication is a funny
thing. It is something we do without thinking or reflecting about what
we are doing. While learning how to communicate more cooperatively and
reduce conflict isnít rocket science, it does take consistent effort. Thatís
because we have to rearrange our communication habits, many of which we
have been using for decades, and in some cases since early childhood. You
have to work at it.
The first step in reducing
conflict and conflict causing communication is to identify the ways that
you contribute to conflict situations. To help you do this, early on in
the book, we ask you to complete a brief self-assessment checklist. This
will help you increase your awareness regarding ineffective communication
patterns that you use, particularly in emotionally charged situations.
After you have done that,
proceed through the text of the book. While you are reading, think about
how you could change your communication behaviours. Sometimes it is useful
to think of a specific, recent conflict communication and recall what you
said, then think specifically about how you could have used more effective
Consider setting some
conflict reduction techniques on a daily basis. For example, set yourself
a goal of eliminating blaming statements from your communication, for a
day, or a week. At the end of the time period, evaluate your progress.
Did you succeed? In what situations did you not succeed?
We are always interested
in success stories. If you want to share successes, ideas, or how you have
applied the work in this book, you can contact us via the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by mail at the address below.
In addition, as we develop
similar material to this book, we will be posting information on our internet
web site, in addition to other helpful tips and articles, available free
Our web site can be reached
We are also available
for seminar delivery, speaking engagements, etc., on cooperative communication,
conflict prevention, etc. Give us a call at the phone number listed below.
Institute For Cooperative
252 Cathcart St.
Winnipeg, Mb. Canada