Rising heat and extreme rainfall, both related to climate change, will also make people emotionally heated and more likely to get into fights. At least, that's the takeaway from an extensive new study from U.C. Berkeley. Three respected researchers studied the historical correlation between extreme weather and interpersonal conflict. They claim that their results point to large increases in anger, violence and unrest likely to come over the next 50 years.
I suppose it's possible that, when people are uncomfortable with their physical environment, they are likely to show it in anger and frustration, especially when the cause is totally out of their control. If nothing else, the prospect of tumult is a great excuse to start making your office a happier place to work. So ramp up the pleasantries and the air conditioner before conflicts occur. Make plans for more social activity where people can lighten up and laugh a little. That way you'll keep things cool and good-humored in any kind of weather.
And here's more cool-headed advice from my expert colleagues:
1. Plan Ahead
Anyone who's been in or near New York City for the past few months is familiar with the mood-altering effects of extreme heat interspersed with torrential rain. Be aware of this dynamic and address workplace conflicts early, before they escalate. But there's a much darker side to this: a warming Earth can mean disruptions from power outages, severe storms and global unrest. What would you do if electricity, Internet, phone lines, key personnel or key supplies were temporarily unavailable? Companies that have thought out the answers ahead of time will do better than those that haven't. Minda Zetlin--Start Me Up
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2. Build Bridges Before Troubled Waters Flow
It's not in the easy conversations that your company is truly tested--it's in how you handle conflict. Dealing with inevitable conflict is one of the most important skills you can develop as a leader and nurture in your company culture. Start by reminding everyone involved that you have the same goal: the very best outcome. Doing so unites all parties and diffuses the tension that can build up when people feel they aren't being heard. Use this common ground as a way to move the conversation forward productively. Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward
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3. Promote Health and Serenity
Frankly, this whole theory pushes my hot button. Researchers can link violence to just about anything if they look hard enough. Why waste valuable resources to predict tragedy and upheaval instead of focusing on the evolution of technology and the human mind? Whatever the future brings, mankind will manage to thrive. Added dimensions of corporate social responsibility will help. Empower employees with programs that promote a healthy and peaceful environment. Teach advanced communication skills, educate on diversity and bulk up the benefits package to offer tools that improve stress levels and brain function, like meditation and life coaching. Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist
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4. Gratitude Is the Perfect Remedy
When you're feeling angry or upset, drop everything and handwrite a thank-you note. You'll instantly feel better, as it's physiologically impossible to experience both anger and gratitude at once. You can even institute a thank-you note writing program at the office, as Likeable did last summer. We went from feeling heated to feeling appreciative and appreciated--and so can you. Dave Kerpen--Likeable Leadership
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