Workplace conflicts do more than cause stress among the people in conflict. That stress can spill into other relationships at work. It can affect the atmosphere of the whole office.
All employees should learn how to handle conflicts at work. It's important that they do. Read on to find out more.
1 Keep Your Cool And Resolve
You expected your coworker would act, react, or respond in a particular way. When the expected response wasn't given, you feel annoyed, slighted, frustrated, or angry. The person that you have a disagreement with is not the problem. How can you explain what the conflict is about to someone who is not involved without blaming the other person?
Gather each person involved in the disagreement and have someone who can act as a mediator and discuss the issue at hand. Brainstorm together and try to find several solutions for the problem. Write down all the solutions that you consider. Instead of attacking the person, attack the common problem. Go back to the solution list and analyze each possible solution until you reach one that will benefit both parties.
2 Address Conflicts Without Delay
Allowing conflict to continue will only worsen it. Disagreements are bound to happen when groups of people work closely together. The trick is to stop the process before it has a chance to snowball into something more.
3 Avoid Assuming Things
Never assume that people act a particular way or say something just to annoy you. They may not have realized that their action, inaction, or speech affected you the way it did. If in doubt, ask the person to clarify their actions rather than assuming why they did it.
4 Don't Take Any Sides
If you're not involved in the problem, avoid taking sides. Instead, look for common ground that both parties share. Finding common ground on as many things as possible will help both parties see that they aren't so different after all.
Doing this will pave the way for finding a solution that both parties can be satisfied with. Similarities don't have to be only work-related; however, it would be better if they were. At this point, find and write down anything that you can think of that is shared between the people involved in the conflict.
5 Be Specific And Focus On The Solution
Regularly coming in five minutes late is much different than never being present for meetings. Be sure to use facts to back up statements. Do this rather than making generalities.
Furthermore, avoid rehashing what happened over and over until emotions get riled up again. Keep the focus on the present. By doing this, it will keep communications from becoming heated or destructive.
6 Take The High Road And Apologize
Apologize even if you don't feel that the conflict is your fault. You can still apologize for your part in the disagreement. It's not necessary for you to take the entire blame, but you do share a certain amount of responsibility.
Sit down calmly with a mediator and discuss the perceived problem. This is your best bet in resolving a disagreement with your colleague. Allow each person to speak without interruption.
Working together to find a mutually beneficial solution is in the best interest of each party. Not only that, but it's also in the best interest of the workplace. Start making your workplace a happy place now!
Jackie Wing is an Alaska native, who enjoys snowboarding more than is probably socially acceptable. She lives in Anchorage with her two dogs Reese and Peanut, or as she likes to call them "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."