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Deal With It, Handling Conflict at Work

Unless you’ve got your head stuck in the sand, you know that conflicts happen at work. Maybe you’re embroiled in one now and that resolution isn’t always easy. However, just because something isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. See conflict as an opportunity to grow as a person, develop better communication and foster an open environment at your work.

Identify the Cause

Why is this conflict happening? Is it really all on the other person, or do you have some responsibility to take? You need to be able to sincerely and truthfully look at yourself. Have you contributed to the problem in any way at all? If you can’t admit your fault, then you really can’t expect the other person to do so either. Once you’ve identified any area where you may have been at fault, address that with the other person.

There are two biggies for why conflict may be happening in your workplace:

Miscommunication

Often miscommunication is the culprit for why you’re having issues. Did you say something that the other person took in a completely different way? Or are you missing some of the facts for the conflict? Lack of information and miscommunication is a major drawback. Clarifying miscommunication often can help resolve the conflict. However, if not, getting a fuller understanding of what is happening and why will be hugely beneficial.

Emotion

As you spend more time with people and get more comfortable with them, emotions can start to run higher. Home life and stress at work are also big contributors. Are the emotions that are being expressed because of other factors? Is the problem the other person, or is it something at home that has you—or them—on edge?

Address the Conflict

Generally, people don’t want to address the issues they’re facing with another person. It’s uncomfortable and all-around not fun. However, your workplace will continue to vibrate with tension until the issue is resolved.

When approaching the other person, be careful how you phrase things. Admit to your responsibility in contributing to the problem, then respectfully bring up what you believe their part was. Do so in as non-confrontational a way as possible. If this means leaving work and having a lunch together and discussing the situation, by all means, do so. Just don’t allow the conflict to continue to simmer. Act as adults in the workplace and take care of the problem.

Make sure that by addressing the conflict that you’re talking with the person the problem is with. Don’t go around the office, asking everyone their opinion and subtly gossiping with those people in the process. If the problem gets out of hand or you need a mediator, that’s one thing. But spreading it around will not be helpful or conducive to fixing the issue either.

No matter how much you enjoy your workplace and your colleagues, you will have a conflict at some point. Whether you observe it happening with others or it happens to you, you’ll have the chance to deal with it. Choose to do so in a smart, considerate way, and everyone at the office will thank you. Don’t let emotions or continued miscommunication get in the way. Address the problem promptly, and then get back to work at that job you love.


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