Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. It is something that needs to be addressed immediately and with tact. Avoid getting angry or frustrated over the situation, but rather focus on coming up with solutions to make things better. Work on resolving the problem together, if possible. If it cannot be resolved, try to at least understand where the other person is coming from and why they feel like they needed to act in that way.
Remember, you’re not alone! Here are 20 tips for handling conflict in the workplace:
Acknowledge the conflict.
You cannot resolve a conflict if you don’t acknowledge it in the first place. If your coworker is upset, try to find out why. It may help to ask questions such as: “What seems to be the problem?”, or “What can I do to help?”. This will help to open up the lines of communication and start the resolution process.
Don’t take things personally.
One of the main reasons that conflict becomes so heated is because people begin to take things personally. Keep in mind that your coworker’s anger or frustration does not necessarily have anything to do with you. They are reacting only to the situation at hand, and not necessarily addressing their feelings toward you specifically.
Come up with a solution.
Once you have both acknowledged the conflict and stopped taking things personally, it’s time to start working on a resolution. This can be a difficult process, but it’s essential for maintaining a healthy work environment. Take some time to brainstorm possible solutions and try to come up with something that is agreeable to both parties.
It can be difficult to stay calm during a conflict, but it is essential if you want to resolve the situation. If you become emotional, you will only make things worse. Take a few deep breaths and try to stay level-headed. This will not only make it easier to resolve the conflict, but it will also set a good example for your coworkers.
Address the issue, not the person.
It is important to address the issue, not the person. Personal attacks will only make the situation worse. Keep the discussion focused on the issue at hand, and try to avoid attacking your coworker’s character or personal beliefs. For example, if someone is constantly interrupting you, don’t get mad at them as a person, address the fact that they are interrupting you. This will help to keep the discussion productive and focused on resolving the conflict.
This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many people seem to forget it. Arguing will only serve to further aggravate the situation and make it more difficult to resolve the conflict. If you find yourself starting to argue with your coworker, take a step back and try to reapproach the issue.
There are likely to be some things that your coworker is not willing to give up, and there are likely some things you aren’t willing to give up either. When it comes to conflict, however, compromising is necessary if you want the situation resolved. Be open-minded about resolving the issue and try to work together to find a solution that makes both parties happy.
Keep lines of communication open.
It is absolutely essential that you keep the lines of communication open once the conflict has been resolved. You need to be able to go to your coworker with any problems as they arise, without fear of reprisal or additional anger. If the lines of communication are closed, the conflict is likely to resurface at a later time.
After the conflict has been resolved, it’s important to follow up and make sure that everything is okay. Check in with your coworker periodically to ensure that they are not still angry or frustrated about the situation. If they are, address the issue and try to find a solution.
Don’t bottle things up.
If you’re angry or frustrated about a conflict in the workplace, it’s important to express those feelings. Bottling things up will only make it worse and could lead to further conflict down the road. Talk to your friends or family about what’s going on at work- they may be able to provide some helpful perspective.
No matter how angry or frustrated you may be, it is essential to maintain respect for your coworker. This means not raising your voice, calling them names, or engaging in any other type of behavior that is disrespectful. Remember that you are trying to resolve a conflict, not start a new one.
Think about why you’re angry.
If you find yourself becoming extremely angry during a conflict, it’s important to step back and think about why you feel that way. Are you frustrated with your coworker because they didn’t do something? Are you frustrated because of something completely unrelated but now has been brought up as an issue? Figure out why the anger is there before trying to resolve the conflict.
Keep things professional.
While it’s okay for friends and family members to argue, it’s not okay in a work environment- especially if those friendships are going to continue after the conflict has been resolved. Avoid getting too personal or sharing information that could make your relationship awkward once the issue is resolved. Address only what needs to be addressed in order to resolve the conflict.
Take a break.
If things are getting heated and you feel like you’re about to say something you’ll regret, take a break. Remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes, calm down, and then come back. This will help you to address the conflict in a more rational manner.
No matter how difficult the situation may be, it’s important to stay positive and focused on resolving the conflict. Positivity will help to keep the discussion productive and moving forward. If you find yourself getting bogged down by negativity, take a step back and try to focus on the issue at hand.
Sarcasm can often be interpreted as hostility, and it’s not likely to help the situation. If you find yourself wanting to make a sarcastic comment, try to rephrase it in a more positive way. This will help to keep the discussion friendly and productive.
Be mindful of your tone.
Your tone of voice can be just as important as the words you use when resolving a conflict. Avoid sounding condescending or angry, and instead try to sound calm and understanding. Listen carefully to what your coworker is saying and how they are coming across so that you can address the issue in a way that’s best for both of you.
Take responsibility for your role in the conflict.
You’ve likely been involved in conflicts before, so it’s safe to assume that you have contributed to some of them- even if unintentionally. Try not to get defensive when addressing the situation; instead, take full responsibility and apologize for any part you played in making things worse. This will show sincerity and allow both parties to avoid engaging in an endless back-and-forth exchange of blame.
Let it go after the conversation has ended.
Once the conflict has been resolved, it’s important not to bring it up again. If things start to feel tense or awkward after the conversation has ended, try to distance yourself from your coworker until the feeling subsides. This will help to prevent any lingering resentment and allow you to move on.
Know that you’re not alone.
No matter how difficult or stressful a conflict may be, remember that it’s something everyone experiences from time to time. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all solution for dealing with conflict, there is also no perfect person who has never experienced it before. Don’t let the situation define your working relationship; instead, work together and try to resolve what happened so that things can improve moving forward.
While conflict in the workplace is inevitable, there are ways to handle it that will lead to a more productive and positive working relationship. By following the tips listed above, you can resolve even the most difficult conflicts in a respectful and constructive manner. Good luck!