For the most part, calendaring conflicts won’t occur with the Calendar system because you are sharing your Calendar with others, and you have specific openings that you allow others to fill in. Thankfully, this will resolve most issues. But, as much as you might like — you can’t take every meeting request. People will book at bad times, and from time to time, emergencies come up
Calendar management, for some, seems tough, but online calendars can make a world of difference. Across a team, your Calender will show who’s available when and where.
With that said, some online calendars aren’t a foolproof fix. People may still put meetings on your schedule when you’re busy. If not handled tactfully, that can create frustrations and strain relationships.
Avoiding Calendar Conflicts
First and foremost, prevent calendar conflicts as much as possible. After all, the easiest way to deal with conflict is to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. Online calendar apps provide several problem-solving tools, including:
One of the most common reasons for calendar conflict is double-booking. Often, people simply don’t look closely enough at the other person’s calendar when choosing a time.
It is impossible to honor two separate schedule commitments simultaneously. Online calendar software can identify meeting overlap and suggest a different time.
There’s nothing more frustrating than back-and-forth emails about when to schedule a meeting. “Whatever works best for you” is hardly an efficient way to decide such things. Half the time, someone misreads the email chain and winds up sticking the event on a slot other than what was agreed on.
Calendar apps tackle this dilemma in two different ways. The first is by allowing one party to book a meeting through the calendar itself. If you want to schedule a meeting with your employer, for example, just look at their online calendar and click on one of their open slots.
The other, less common method? Some calendar apps have a feature that decides time and a location for you. With these, you select a general time block and the software figures out the specifics for you.
One of Calendar’s most innovative features is time-zone recognition. For teams that work remotely or with freelancers from around the world, this is an especially valuable tool.
Time-zone recognition eliminates the need to do the math when you’re setting up a call with team members who are in different areas of the world. Simply set the time you want according to your own time zone, and the online calendar software will automatically adjust it for anyone else involved.
It’s easy to miss a meeting when you aren’t sure if the scheduler accounted for time-zone differences. An online calendar can ensure it never happens again.
Resolving Calendar Conflicts
Even after taking all the right precautions, calendar conflicts may arise. When they do, it’s crucial to handle the problem professionally. A booking mistake is never a reason to damage a relationship. Soft skills are key:
1. Show Empathy
Empathy is the most essential quality for leaders. Being understanding can stop a bad situation from snowballing into an even worse one. When handled well, miscommunications are mended just as quickly as they’re made.
Listening and empathy are two keys entrepreneur extraordinaire Gary Vaynerchuk points to when asked about his business success. Before a problem can be solved, its root must be identified, Vaynerchuk points out — even if the team member does not communicate it directly. Getting to its core takes empathy.
In other words, problems may arise due to circumstances you know nothing about. If someone misses a meeting or is late, reprimanding them won’t solve any underlying issues. Even for repeat offenders, trying to be understanding can encourage improvement and cooperation.
2. Lead By Example
Leadership is everything. Being a positive role model for your team members is the single best way to bring out the best in them.
Remember, employees can see through disingenuous leadership. When leaders try to pass off perfectionism and narcissism as having high standards, they fail. What workers see is toxicity. Toxic behaviors spread like a virus, creating an unproductive and unpleasant work environment for everyone.
If you want your employees to be punctual and attentive, first check your own behavior for those qualities. If you aren’t, you can’t hope to be taken seriously when you ask your team members to exhibit them. Instead of trying to command and control your way to a no-conflict calendar, ask how your own meeting etiquette could improve.
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Listening and leading are both very important, but they won’t reduce the frequency of calendar conflicts without effective communication. Watch your communication with all teams, but especially with your remote teams.
Excellent communication between parties can de-escalate conflict in the workplace. An important part of communication is avoiding assumptions, which can trigger a domino effect that will undoubtedly make things worse. Respectful language is also key.
Online calendars are built to improve communication, but you shouldn’t rely solely on technology when conflicts arise. When they do, take the time to address them in person or on a call. Figure out what’s wrong, as to how you can help, and be the sort of leader you’d want to follow.
Calendar conflicts may seem like one-off issues, but they rarely are. Get to the bottom of why they’re happening, and you’ll face fewer conflicts of all sorts.
Student at UC Berkeley, currently working on a degree in Electrical Engineering/Computer Sciences and Business Administration. Experienced in CSX, productivity management, and chatbot implementation.