Jobs don’t need to be war zones

“If you want peace, understand war,” wrote B.H. Liddell Hart, military theorist and historian.

Going to work isn’t supposed to be a shooting war but at some places of employment, it might as well be. There are allies, enemies, and those who strive to maintain neutrality. There full-on attackers, sneaky snipers, guerrilla fighters, and pacifists. There are battles, retreats, and uneasy truces. All of this, just to earn a living.

To create peace at work, you must understand the ‘war.’ That means knowing why people are really fighting. Is it over the specific issue under discussion? Or about something else – recognition, respect, credit or simply being right? Too many workplace battles are waged over an inconsequential issue when the keystone is an ongoing control or personality issue.

To nurture an environment of peace on the job, it’s necessary to understand what really drives the little wars. That means facing them forthrightly, discussing wants and needs separate from specific issues, taking time to listen and reflect what you’ve heard, and not least: the inclination to let the other person be right. If you want peace, understand the war that will undermine it.

Five keys for seeking peace in your corner of the workplace:

  • When you’re certain that you’re absolutely correct is the time to be certain you’ve listened to absolutely every contrary opinion.
  • Appreciate others and share the credit.
  • Clarify and confirm significant communication.
  • Help people solve their problems without telling them what to do.
  • Keep a smile in your voice.