At times the workplace can feel like a battle ground of competing priorities and resources. Securing the budgets, rosters, staffing, access to materials, equipment and facilities you need can be a challenge.
To survive you might assume you need to be a skillful warrior defending your turf.
Sadly, an adversarial, combative approach can lead to casualties and toxic work environments. But what is the alternative? Surely if you don’t fight to win you will end up the loser?
Fortunately, there is another approach that doesn’t rely on winners and losers and is far more efficient and productive.
It is simple and effective and when used with skill and commitment will transform the experiences you have at work.
It’s influenced by the principles of the Harvard Negotiation Model developed by Ury and Fisher. To make it useful, let’s keep it simple and call it the you, me, we approach.
'You and me'
The approach is all about shifting our focus.
Rather than seeing ourselves as opposing warriors battling to protect our positions, we move towards being fellow warriors battling a common problem.
Begin by approaching the situation genuinely wanting to understand the other persons interests and priorities. Ask quality questions— ‘Tell me what you need?’ Then genuinely listen. Check and clarify that you have a clear sense of their interests— ‘I want to make sure I accurately understand what you are saying. From what you are telling me, it seems like you need...’
Then offer your perspective— ‘Let me explain my interests and priorities’. Check and clarify that you have adequately explained your interests and priorities— ‘I want to make sure my explanation is clear and understandable, based on what I have said what do you think I am needing?’
Ready for 'we'?
With a clear understanding of the interests and priorities you both have, you can now move to working together — ‘So, what are we going to do about this?’ (I've added bold to illustrate how, you, me, we works. Don't emphasise those words when you say them.)
It takes effort and skill to put this approach into practice, but the gains are worth it. You'll preserve your positive working relationships and, rather than simply winning battles, you will be solving problems and producing results.