By Dora Farkas, Ph.D. Founder, Finish Your Thesis www.FinishYourThesis.com Welcome! How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult Supervisors and Coworkers.

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  • Slide 1
  • by Dora Farkas, Ph.D. Founder, Finish Your Thesis www.FinishYourThesis.com Welcome! How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult Supervisors and Coworkers
  • Slide 2
  • Bachelors Chemical Engineering (MIT) Ph.D. in Biological Engineering (MIT) Senior Scientist in pharmaceutical industry Thesis and career coach since 2009 Creator of online Finish Your Thesis Program My Background
  • Slide 3
  • Part I: Assertive, Open Communication
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  • What is assertive communication? Why assertiveness is essential life skill Three-part method to become more assertive Assess your own assertiveness skills Part I: Assertive, Open Communication
  • Slide 5
  • Part II: How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult People
  • Slide 6
  • Types of difficult people Strategies to resolve conflicts with difficult people Explore how working with difficult people has affected your performance How to avoid common communication mistakes Part II: How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult People
  • Slide 7
  • { } 1 Assertive, Open Communication Skills
  • Slide 8
  • What is assertive communication? Why assertiveness is essential life skills Three-part method to become assertive, examples Assess your own assertiveness skills Part I: Assertive, Open Communication
  • Slide 9
  • Assertiveness is the Basis of Effective Communication Skills What is Assertive Communication?
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  • ASSERTIVENESS IS THE QUALITY OF BEING CONFIDENT WITHOUT BEING AGGRESSIVE
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  • Passive people: o Like to please others o Avoid conflict, even at a cost to their work/health Aggressive people: o Only focused on their own goals o Do not have consideration for other peoples needs Passive vs. Aggressive Behavior
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  • Both passive and aggressive behavior leads to frustration and jeopardizes relationships
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  • Assertive People Express Their Ideas and Take The Needs of Others into Consideration
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  • Are you intimidated by the thought of causing conflict? Are you uncomfortable with giving or receiving criticism? Do you spend time roaming over past conflicts? Are you anxious about potential conflicts in the future? Our self-confidence is strongly influenced by how we stand up for ourselves and the respect we get from others How Do You Know Whether You Are Assertive?
  • Slide 15
  • What is assertive communication? Why assertiveness is essential life skills Three-part method to become assertive, examples Assess your own assertiveness skills Part I: Assertive, Open Communication
  • Slide 16
  • Research is Not a Solitary Endeavor
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  • In Academia: o Supervisor, group members, collaborators In Industry: Supervisor, coworkers, project team members, outside collaborators Your Success at Work Will Depend Highly on How Well You Work in Teams
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  • ASSERTIVENESS WILL STRENGTHEN YOUR PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
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  • Assertive communication skills will help you to: Express your ideas with confidence Gain respect from others Advance your career Simplify your life Assertiveness will help you to ask for help with confidence, and get the guidance you need Assertiveness is an Essential Life Skill
  • Slide 20
  • What is assertive communication? Why assertiveness is essential life skills Three-part method to become assertive, examples Assess your own assertiveness skills Part I: Assertive, Open Communication
  • Slide 21
  • Three-Step Method for Assertive Communication
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  • Be clear about your own ideas and needs Listen to the other person to understand their viewpoint Be open to alternative solutions that benefit everyone Stick to the facts, leave emotions out of discussions Sometimes you can agree to disagree Qualities of Assertive Communication
  • Slide 23
  • Many students tend to be passive It can be intimidating to speak up to a professor What will they think if I express my ideas? What if what I say does not make sense? Will my professor be angry if I disagree? Assertiveness Might Be Challenging at First
  • Slide 24
  • State the facts Clarify your thoughts about the situation and why it bothers you Explain your goals and how you would like the problem to be resolved Adapted from How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie Three-step Method of Assertive Communication
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  • Situation: you recently sent your supervisor a draft of a paper, and he wants you to add a section that you think is unnecessary o Requires more data collections o Delays the publication of your paper Case Study: Discussing corrections to a manuscript
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  • Request a time to meet in person/phone/email Mention that you would like discuss paper Do not discuss sensitive issues over email Always assume that other person is reasonable Assertive Approach to Resolving Problem
  • Slide 27
  • Set up a clear agenda o Corrections to manuscript o Why you think the additional section is beyond scope of paper Brainstorm about possible solutions if supervisor wants you to add section Preparing for Meeting
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  • State Facts: You would like to discuss corrections to paper Clarify: You do not think this additional section is needed, and give reasons Explain how you would like it to be resolved: o Include data in another paper o Share responsibility with another student During Meeting Use Three-step Process:
  • Slide 29
  • If there is a disagreement let supervisor talk first Be open to your supervisors viewpoint Ask questions to: o Make sure that you understand their opinions o Get feedback on alternative solutions If you cannot agree, setup a future meeting o More time to research o Discuss situation with group members Prepare Yourself for Disagreements
  • Slide 30
  • Practice open communication Get support from supervisor if you are stuck and cannot resolve problems on your own. With more experience, you will become more confident and assertive - gain respect from others You Will Learn to Become More Assertive with Practice
  • Slide 31
  • What is assertive communication? Why assertiveness is essential life skills Three-part method to become assertive, examples Assess your own assertiveness skills Part I: Assertive, Open Communication
  • Slide 32
  • { } 2 Strategies to Deal with Difficult People
  • Slide 33
  • How Do You Cope With Difficult People?
  • Slide 34
  • Types of difficult people Strategies to resolve conflicts with difficult people Explore how working with difficult people has affected your performance How to cope with chronically difficult bosses Common communication mistakes Part II: How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult People
  • Slide 35
  • 1) Hostile-Aggressives, 2) Complainers, 3) Silent-Unresponsives, 4) Super-Agreeables, 5) Negativists, 6) Know-It-Alls (Bulldozers and Balloons), and 7) Indecisives. 8) Extremely Hands-Off (or Super-Busy types), and 9) Excessively Hands-On (Micromanagers). Based on Coping with Difficult People by Robert Branson Types of Difficult People
  • Slide 36
  • Types of difficult people Strategies to resolve conflicts with difficult people Explore how working with difficult people has affected your performance How to cope with chronically difficult bosses Common communication mistakes Part II: How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult People
  • Slide 37
  • 1) Hostile-Aggressives, 2) Complainers, 3) Silent-Unresponsives, 4) Super-Agreeables, 5) Negativists, 6) Know-It-Alls, and 7) Indecisives 8) Extremely Hands-Off (or Super-Busy types), and 9) Excessively Hands-On (Micromanagers). Types of Negative People I will Cover
  • Slide 38
  • Notoriously antagonistic and impolite. Confrontational Raise their voice, use strong language Crush all your ideas Try to make you feel like a fool Hostile-Aggressives: Characteristics
  • Slide 39
  • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. - Eleanor Roosevelt Do not get emotional if they try to humiliate you Let them calm down, acknowledge their opinions Direct the conversation towards solving problems. How Do you Deal with Hostile-Aggressives?
  • Slide 40
  • Very friendly Tell you all the things you want to hear Make empty promises They do not follow through on assignments Great at making excuses Super-Agreeables: Characteristics
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  • Do not rely on super-agreeables to help you with your work. Complete as much of the work as you can on your own Make it easy for them to do their part If you need letters of recommendation, write an outline to make it easier for your thesis supervisor to support you How Do you Deal with Super-Friendly People?
  • Slide 42
  • Indecisives
  • Slide 43
  • Hesitant about making any decisions Swayed easily by new data/opinions As soon progress is made, dissertation is changed Frequently perfectionists Frustrating to students/employees because they can hold up progress Indecisives: Characteristics
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  • Take leadership of your end of project Emphasizing the advantages of one particular project. Be assertive about your ideas Find out their reasons for being indecisive Get support from other coworkers, professors etc. Let your indecisive boss know about any decisions you make and why How Do you Deal with Indecisives?
  • Slide 45
  • 1) Hostile-Aggressives, 2) Complainers, 3) Silent-Unresponsives, 4) Super-Agreeables, 5) Negativists, 6) Know-It-Alls, and 7) Indecisives 8) Extremely Hands-Off (or Super-Busy types), and 9) Excessively Hands-On (Micromanagers). Types of Negative People I will Cover
  • Slide 46
  • They give you too much attention Question every detail of your project, work habits Expect you to be working around the clock Call you after hours Excessively Hands-on Micromanagers
  • Slide 47
  • Set boundaries: work hours, scope of project Be assertive about why you want to set boundries Get important agreements in writing Keep your supervisor informed of progress How Do you Deal with Micromanagers?
  • Slide 48
  • Types of difficult people Strategies to resolve conflicts with difficult people Explore how working with difficult people has affected your performance How to cope with chronically difficult bosses Part II: How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult People
  • Slide 49
  • Types of difficult people Strategies to resolve conflicts with difficult people Explore how working with difficult people has affected your performance How to cope with chronically difficult bosses Part II: How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult People
  • Slide 50
  • Understand your supervisors expectations Prepare a clear agenda for every meeting Explain the problem and stick to the facts Define how you would like the problem to be solved Listen to your supervisor viewpoint Get important agreements in writing Always follow through on your end of the deal 7 Steps to Resolving Conflicts
  • Slide 51
  • Always assume that the person you are dealing with is reasonable and will respond well if you communicate assertively. Everyone is difficult sometimes Truly difficult people have chronic bad habits that make them difficult to work with Rule #1
  • Slide 52
  • Rule #2: Difficult people respond to assertiveness, but you need to be more persistent to get your point across
  • Slide 53
  • Do not take difficult people personally Difficult people are difficult with everyone No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. - Eleanor Roosevelt Rule #3
  • Slide 54
  • Types of difficult people Strategies to resolve conflicts with difficult people Explore how working with difficult people has affected your performance Common communication mistakes Part II: How to Resolve Conflicts with Difficult People
  • Slide 55
  • What is the Biggest Communication Mistake?
  • Slide 56
  • The Biggest Communication Mistake is Lack of Communication
  • Slide 57
  • Lack of Communication Can Lead to Incorrect Assumptions: But I thought you meant Missed Milestones Academia: Delay graduation date, Disagreements or delays in publications Industry: Wasted effort on project, Falling behind on project milestones, Reduced performance, Poor group dynamics
  • Slide 58
  • If I Disagree With Someone They Will Dislike Me Expecting Supervisor to Solve Problems for You Taking Criticism Personally, or Becoming Defensive and Emotional during a Meeting Discussing Sensitive Issues over Email. Other Communication Mistakes
  • Slide 59
  • If I Disagree With Someone They Will Dislike Me Expecting Supervisor to Solve Problems for You. Taking Criticism Personally, or Becoming Defensive and Emotional during a Meeting Discussing Sensitive Issues over Email. Biggest Communication Mistakes
  • Slide 60
  • This assumption can lead to a passive attitude It is possible for two people to disagree, yet maintain a collegial relationship Your goal is to build professional relationships Professors have more respect for students who have the courage to express their opinions Use three-part assertiveness technique to resolve disagreements without jeopardizing your relationship If I Disagree With Someone They Will Dislike Me
  • Slide 61
  • If I Disagree With Someone They Will Dislike Me Expecting Supervisor to Solve Problems for You. Taking Criticism Personally, or Becoming Defensive and Emotional during a Meeting Discussing Sensitive Issues over Email. Biggest Communication Mistakes
  • Slide 62
  • Your thesis is one of a 100 things on your professors list Finishing your thesis is your responsibility If you have a problem or feel stuck: Think of solutions before talking to supervisor Make it easy for your supervisor to support you Expecting Advisor to Solve Problems For You
  • Slide 63
  • If I Disagree With Someone They Will Dislike Me Expecting Supervisor to Solve Problems for You Taking Criticism Personally, or Becoming Defensive and Emotional during a Meeting Discussing Sensitive Issues over Email. Other Communication Mistakes
  • Slide 64
  • Giving and Receiving Criticism
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  • Receiving Criticism Resist urge to become defensive Do not screen out positive Ask questions to clarify criticism Giving Criticism Stick to the facts - know your facts Leave emotions out of discussion Propose plausible solutions Criticism vs....