Resolving Conflict With Your Coworkers
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 12-10-2018 06:14 AM
Synopsis: Learn how to resolve conflict with your co-workers and make your life and productivity better at work.
Working in an office environment can be stressful. Between impending deadlines, different personalities, pressure from managers, and demands from clients, employees may feel overwhelmed. While managers and company leaders try to mitigate or prevent any conflict between their employees, conflicts do happen.
Whether they are simple verbal disagreements or even physical alterations, conflict in the workplace can be damaging in a physical, emotional, and even financial sense. According to one study, $359 billion in paid hours—the equivalent of 385 million working days—are lost each year to workplace conflict.
The costs are real, yet many employees do not know how to handle conflict in the workplace. Because of this, we are here to help. Below are some tactics and strategies that you can use to resolve conflict with your coworkers in your office.
Tips on Resolving Conflict Among Your Coworkers
First, if you are involved in a conflict with a coworker, you should evaluate the situation. This is a crucial first step before you approach the coworker or try to diffuse the situation. One important step is to get inside the head of the coworker involved in the conflict. In other words, practicing empathy is extremely important. Here, you need to put on an objective hat and ask yourself: “Why is my colleague mad at me? What could I have done that would have made him or her annoyed or angry?”
Asking this question is extremely important, as it is extremely easy for all of us to get stuck in our own heads when we’re involved in a conflict. If we can get into the head of the other person, however, we’re in a better position to negotiate an amicable solution. Yes, this is difficult to do—especially if you think that you are on the “right” side of the conflict. Yet this is a necessary exercise if you actually want to resolve the conflict.
Next, you will want to sit down with the coworker who is involved in the conflict. While this can be uncomfortable, it is one inevitable step in solving a conflict. Regardless of whether you choose to have an objective, third-party there to observe and moderate, the goal is to meet and hash out your differences. Yes, you will want to be honest with your coworker and explain why you feel hurt. That said, equally as important is listening, understanding your coworker’s point of view, and why he or she may be hurt.
From there, you will want to think of potential solutions to solve the conflict. Even though you may need a manager’s permission for any special arrangements, try to think outside of the box. Once you come to some sort of agreement, you’ll want to make sure that both of you are on the same page before you leave the room. A miscommunication at this stage is extremely damaging. After the meeting, put forth your genuine, best effort to adhere to the terms of your agreement.
If the conflict continues even after your meeting, you may need to escalate the conflict. Workplace escalation channels exist for a reason. If your coworker isn’t being amicable or isn’t trying to diffuse the situation, you may need to seek a manager’s help. Start by approaching your direct manager rather than a higher manager or officer in your organization. Explain the situation, what you and your coworker have done to diffuse the situation (including your meeting), and how the coworker isn’t trying to resolve the conflict. Again, be as objective as possible. Rely on facts, rather than emotions.
Depending on your manager, you may be able to resolve the conflict then and there, or you may have to escalate it even further. The remedy itself will depend on the situation. You—or the coworker—may need to be transferred to a different division or even leave the company. That said, at this point, the resolution to the conflict will probably be out of your hands. You will simply want to be honest, forthcoming, and empathetic throughout this process.
Workplace conflict is not fun for anyone. It affects you, your coworker, others in your office, and your entire organization. Workplace conflict can affect morale and can make your office a much more miserable place.
Being involved in any conflict activates a flood of emotions. It is easy to give into those emotions. But in the workplace, it is vital to keep your cool, empathize with your coworker (even if you hate them), and be amicable in your quest for a potential solution. By doing this, you will increase the odds that the conflict is resolved and that you can focus on something more important—your actual work.