Drawing the Line: Setting Boundaries for External Conflicts at Work

Keeping the Peace: Managing High Conflict Issues at Work
On this episode of It’s All Your Fault, Bill and Megan tackle how employers and managers can set healthy boundaries around discussing divisive societal issues at work. They provide guidance on creating a respectful, productive environment when employees have strong, differing opinions.

Bill and Megan explain that while online conversations may feel more hostile lately, research shows it’s often due to a small group of aggressive, status-driven people. When divisive issues come up at work, reasonable people tend to disengage, allowing bullies to dominate the dialogue. This can deteriorate workplace culture and community.

To maintain a cohesive team, leaders must set clear guidelines about acceptable communication. Bill suggests focusing on keeping conflicts impersonal and issues-based, not attacking people’s character. Megan adds that while managers have limited power to enforce culture alone, they can coach employees one-on-one on respectful communication.

HR can recommend coaching to improve behaviors vs. immediately firing staff. Employees feeling bullied should speak up, understand their options, and get assertiveness training if needed. With the right boundaries and empathy, organizations can productively navigate sensitive topics.

Questions we answer in this episode:

  • How can managers discourage divisive talk when company policy is unclear?
  • What coaching strategies can HR use for staff exhibiting bullying behaviors?
  • What should employees do if they feel targeted by a workplace bully?

Key Takeaways:

  • Research shows online hostility comes from a vocal minority of aggressive people.
  • Leaders must set guidelines to keep conflict impersonal and issues-based.
  • Coaching can help managers, HR, and staff communicate respectfully.
  • Employees feeling bullied should speak up and understand their options.
  • With the right boundaries, companies can stay productive despite disagreements.

Setting clear expectations while extending empathy enables workplaces to keep the peace during polarizing times. Tune in to hear Bill and Megan’s insightful guidance on fostering understanding.

Links & Other Notes

Note: We are not diagnosing anyone in our discussions, merely discussing patterns of behavior.

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