It’s difficult to avoid conflict at work. Sure, we can try to prevent conflict in the first place, but with so many different personalities, working styles, and stress-inducing responsibilities, the employee that never experiences conflict is more likely to be the exception than the rule. When conflict sneaks its way into our relationships at work, what can we do to make sure things don’t get out of hand
Our first instinct is often to avoid or even take revenge against the people that hurt us. But there are many challenges and limitations to acting on these instincts. It isn’t always easy to avoid someone you work with, especially if that person is higher in the chain of command than you. We often think of revenge as cathartic, but research suggests this usually isn’t the case. “Venting” is more likely to make us feel worse than better. Forgiveness, on the other hand, can make victims feel better and restore essential relationships in the process.
When management consultant Michael Stone interviewed executives across the United States to elicit their opinions about forgiveness at work, he found that it often brought up a sense of fear. Fear of losing control, fear of losing trust, fear of losing power. But how do these fears match up with what we really know about the science of forgiveness?
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