Because we’re all human and sometimes things can go a little pear-shaped; it’s time to discuss how to handle conflict at work. With the demands of deadlines taking their toll and working in such close proximity with colleagues day in, day out, sometimes emotions are heightened and conflicts are caused.
But, worry not, work conflicts can blow over without any damage. If you’re wondering how best to tackle the situation and come out unscathed, go armed with our tips:
Acknowledge the issue
Although it can be tempting to bury your head in the sand and hope the issue resolves itself, unfortunately you will only go around in circles with this approach. As hard as it may be, try and focus on what factors have influenced the conflict – is it a clash of personalities? Do you feel overworked or undervalued? Whatever it is, be open and honest with yourself about the underlying issue!
Focus on the problem and not the person
It’s never a good idea to get caught up in a game of ‘she said this’, ‘he said that’ during a work conflict as it can sour the working relationship you once had. If the issue isn’t personal, it’s important to not make it one. Always focus on the problem and ways to solve it rather than getting caught up in a personal attack. Remember how you conduct yourself will be noted – especially by your manager!
Avoid adding fuel to the fire by keeping a cool head. It can be easy to get caught up in a commotion which can then cause a conflict to spiral, but showcasing a professional demeanor and remaining positive will defuse a situation quicker or potentially prevent a conflict occurring altogether.
Keep an open mind and be positive
Resolving a conflict isn’t about getting one person to change their mind entirely or even being in complete agreement about the issue - finding common ground is the key to smoothing things over. Take the time to listen to your coworkers and ask respectful and appropriate questions. This way, you're far more likely to find common ground and defuse the conflict.
Learn to forgive
Finally, once the problem has been resolved it’s important to accept what has been said. We’re all human and sometimes we make mistakes. Resentment will only affect you negatively and while you obviously shouldn't tolerate abuse, you'll get along better with people if you learn to forgive and forget.
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