Engaging in Conflict with Upper Management (part 4 of 4)

April 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

Today is the final post in my series about engaging in conflict with upper management. You can read yesterday’s post here, Talk it Out.

APPLYING THESE PRINCIPLES TO ORGANIZATIONAL LIFE

  Conflict Among Others

These new understandings of how to effectively engage in conflict with upper management give us a new framework when conflict arises at work. Now while at work, we know that when conflict comes up, we should not stand for any type of behavior by our boss that is hostile or that belittles us. We also know that it is important that we talk out the conflict with leadership of our organization in a productive way that does not vent our negative feelings and shows support for our leader.

Much of this research is greatly beneficial to me in my work because I have a direct supervisor whom I work for and report to on a regular basis. She also reports to our President/CEO who also reports to our 25 member Board of Directors. So, as I am mostly at the bottom of our organization, I have to deal with how to have constructive conflict with the woman I report to because there are times when I disagree on an issue that we need to talk about and work through together.

Even though there are times when I express my disagreements with her and she makes a decision that does not agree with mine, it is ok because she has the authority to make decisions. It is also important that I navigate our conflict in an effective way in order to foster a positive work environment. This means I stay away from the avoid/criticize loop and not talk negatively about her to people inside or outside of our work department. This is important because she knows that no matter what happens in a conflict she has my support.

Another area that this research applies to my life is with my assertiveness to stand up for myself against unjust treatment. This means that when someone treats me poorly, either at work or at home, that I can stand up for myself. Being treated unjustly does not happen on a regular basis to me, but it is something I need to be sensitive to in the future because I know my natural tendency as an Analyzer/Preserver is to not defend myself against unjust treatment.[1]

The odds are that you are like me: someone who works as part of a team who has one (or more) bosses you have to report to on a regular basis. Now that you know it is okay to engage in conflict with upper management on a regular basis by standing up against unjust treatment and talking out the conflict, I hope you will have productive conflict.

Question: How do you effectively engage in conflict with upper management?


[1] Susan Gilmore and Patrick Fraleigh, the Friendly Style Profile: a guide through calm and storm (Eugene, OR: Friendly Press, 2004).

BIBLIOGRAPHY (for entire blog series)

Baldoni, John. Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up. New York: American Management Association, 2010.

Barunek, Jean M., and Barbara E. Bowe. “Transformational Management of Conflict: A Perspective from the Early Christian Church.” Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal 1, no. 2 (1998): 151-162.

Gilmore, Susank and Patrick Fraleigh. the Friendly Style Profile: a guide through calm and storm. Eugene, OR: Friendly Press, 2004.

Lipsky, David and Ariel Augar. “The Conflict over Conflict Management.” Dispute Resolution Journal 65 (May/October 2010): 11, 38-43.

Schrock-Shenk, Carolyn., and Lawrence Ressler, eds. Making Peace with Conflict: Practical Skills for Conflict Transformation. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1999.

Roloff, Michael E. “Links between Conflict Management Research and Practice.” Journal of Applied Communication Research 37, no. 4 (November 2009): 339-348.

Swindoll, Chuck. David: A Man of Passion and Destiny. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997.

Wilmot, William and Joyce Hocker. Interpersonal Conflict. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.

Christopher L. Scott

Posts Twitter Facebook Google+

Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I also may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."