how to solve a conflict situation at work

An office is a place of professionalism and no passion or emotions are allowed in. The second part of the sentence is completely incorrect. Both passion and emotions are and should be present. You can be passionate about your work if you like it, about your quarterly targets, about your next marketing campaign, your career advancement as a personal success. Combine this with the number of hours one spends in an office and how attached they feel to it, and you’ve got yourself a place where everyone is pretending to be professional and trying to put on a face showing that they do not really care when they actually do.

How to Solve a Conflict Situation at Work

1. See conflict as a part of the every-day routine

A workplace is an environment whit a lot of sparks waiting for explosions. Regardless of the size of the office, that is the number of employees, if there is work to be done and if they care to do it the best way possible, there are bound to be points of disagreement. They can range from a sink full of dishes to different understandings of procedures and strategies. Be sure not to take the conflicts personally, unless they are proven to be that. A presence of a conflict only means that there is an issue that needs resolving and the conflict itself drew attention to it. This is why they are actually very constructive and should be welcomed in a way.

2. A personal conflict

Just to get this out of the way, if a conflict situation arose from a personal issue and personal dislikes, be sure to resolve it in order to be able to go back to your work-related activities. These are usually the clashes between lifestyles and personal values of co-workers. The best solution would be to ask them for a moment of privacy to settle your differences that is, agree to accept them as such and move on. This type of conflict should be resolved and a matter put to rest as there is nothing constructive about it.

3. Know when to challenge

You should not wait too long before addressing an issue. Procrastination could cause more conflict situations and a major problem to deal with. You should nip it in the bud before it grows into something you cannot handle. Choosing the right moment, however, is essential. You should wait for both parties to clear their heads and for any circumstances which added to the conflict, to pass. Once there is no steam and no stress, both sides will be more likely to understand where the other party is coming from and assess their own actions.

4. Understand the nature of the conflict

The best way to understand what lead to a conflict situation is to ask questions. Do not be afraid and do not think you will be ridiculed for it. Be calm and polite. Listening to the answers is the key to understanding the problem and even importantly understanding the other person. Once you truly understand what the point of a disagreement was, you will be able to overcome that obstacle. It also often helps to give the other person a benefit of a doubt and not instantly think they are purposely seeking out conflict.

5. Choose your words carefully

When facing a colleague after a conflict you have to use your political skills. Choose your words very carefully and make sure there is no placing blame or that there is no rudeness in them. Before you approach the colleague, try to analyze your actions and see what blame was there on your side. You can start by being humble and admitting to your mistakes and perhaps explain what it was they did that made you upset or simply made you react. Ask them what they think how you could resolve the issue and offer your opinion on the solution. The way you approach the opposing side on this occasion will make all the difference.

6. Mediation and human resources

If your pleads for conflict resolution are being rejected by the colleague in question, or the conflict situations keep on happening, perhaps you should involve the human resources. They are certainly better equipped than you are to deal with these situations. They could seek someone to provide workplace and business mediation services when your manager fails as a mediator. Sometimes it is useful to have a neutral side whose only goal is a compromise and not benefits of one side or another.

7. Act on the spot

The moment you realize that you are in the middle of a conflict situation, seek to get the best out of it. Try turning a potential conflict into a meaningful discussion. If you disagree with your colleagues or your colleague, ask them on the spot for the arguments supporting their opinion and share yours. Try to make sense of what they are saying. Perhaps, the issue you are arguing about needed just that, someone to analyze it further through a discussion. Turn this into an informative conversation rather than a pointless rumble.

Bottom Line

While most conflict situations can be educational and informative, they should be avoided and not purposely initiated. Every time you resolve one of these situations, you should reflect and be introspective to help you learn more about yourself and the triggers that lead you to a conflict situation. The experience will teach you about proper ways of challenging people and overcoming disagreements without stepping into a conflict.


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