I have been working as a software developer for almost 20 years and I believe the acquired experience gives me more confidence to cope with stressful situations. After these years I can accept different approaches and ways of working to avoid conflicts or deal with them when they arise.
Evaluate own ability to identify and deal with workplace stress
The stress wake-up-call for me is when I cannot sleep well. In this case, meditation before going to sleep works almost every time for me. After it usually I can rest well and be fully recharged the following day. Another warning sign of stress is when I have no appetite. To go back to normal, I learned that positive emotions can help build a buffer against tensions. I also recognise the power of good habits and setting aside time to have fun or indulge myself is part of it. There is more, physical and mental health are connected so eating well and exercise help to release endorphins. Luckily, I’m not a fan of sugar and I don’t overdo caffeine or alcohol. In my position, thanks to flexible working hours, I can exercise two or three times a week without clashes with my office duties. Plus, the company provides a yearly wellbeing bonus to pay for my gym membership.
Umbrella’s culture suggests employees to switch off from distractions and make time for yourself as a regular part of your routine. Personally, I try not to overwork or check my emails out of working hours. We all need time to unwind. Spending too much of your free time in front of a screen, phone included, it is a behavior I try to avoid. Last but not least, bottling up my feelings and assuming they will go away does not work. This can make things worse in the long run. Sharing how I am feeling works great for me and I feel okay to ask for help and support if needed, usually with teammates or managers.
Evaluate own ability to identify and deal with workplace conflicts
My work requires me to deal with a high number of complicated and unstructured tasks. In other words, be proactive and creative on a daily basis. When I start my working day without being eager to solve the challenges I have ahead of me this usually means lack of motivation and most of the time is related to a conflict. While the friendly office atmosphere of Umbrella’s office positively helps to share differences of opinions, sometimes clashes are inevitable. Recently I learned how emotional intelligence can help to make emotions work for me instead of against me. How self-awareness helps to identify and understand my own emotions and how they affect me. Thanks to self-management I can better control my emotional reactions. Social awareness gives me a way to perceive the feelings of others and understand how those feelings influence their behavior. Relationship management assists me to get the most out of my connections with others. In the end I realize how empathy can be the key to avoiding or resolving conflicts.
Following the classification proposed by Ralph H. Kilmann and Kenneth W. Thomas with their MODE (Management-of-Differences Exercise) instrument (Kilmann & Thomas, 1977) my way of dealing with conflict is by avoiding it and when this is not possible to find a compromise.
When I notice there is a clash between two people or groups I work with, even when I have an opinion on what the source of their conflict is, I hide my position to give the two parties time to better understand each other’s orientation. When this approach does not work and the conflict resolution is not progressing, as second option, I try is to solve the dispute by finding a compromise that allows the two parties to agree on a solution.