Have you ever found yourself in the midst of an uncomfortable situation at work? Maybe a coworker didn’t complete a project on time. Or maybe someone used one of your ideas and passed it off as their own. Whatever the situation, work conflicts happen.
As much as we all try to avoid it, it’s likely that at some point in your career, you’ll run into a workplace conflict that could potentially jeopardize relationships. They can be extremely awkward and stressful – trust me, I know!
The good news is that it is possible to deal with work conflicts gracefully and professionally… and not permanently damage your relationships.
There are a few actions that can be applied to just about any situation, no matter the specifics. Take a look at these 5 ways to deal with conflict at work.
1. Don’t take the avoidance path.
Sometimes it feels like it is easier to avoid the topic of conflict or to avoid the person with whom the conflict is with altogether. That path may feel safe and seem productive in the long-term. But, it is a dangerous one. Eventually, you will need to work with the person you had the conflict with again. And, eventually, you have to resolve unfinished business. Address the issue in a timely fashion.
2. Talk to the other person(s) involved
Have a conversation with the other party and express your concern. Remember to keep your tone calm to avoid creating any additional frustration or anger. Prepare your thoughts ahead of time and stick to the facts. Use this time to identify if there’s a way for the two of you to reasonably resolve the issue. Talk through potential solutions and take action.
3. Listen to understand, not to respond
It’s easy to enter a conversation with your mind already made up about the outcomes you want. In these situations, though, it’s important that you listen carefully to the other person’s thoughts and opinions. Ask follow-up questions and stay engaged in listening. Do not get caught up in defense of your position. Listen. Keep an open mind; they may shed light on a perspective you hadn’t considered. If you’re not willing to listen to their point of view, you run the risk of missing out on good solutions.
4. Recognize that it’s okay to agree to disagree
We’re human, which means we won’t always agree with the opinions of others – and that’s okay! The key here is to remain receptive to differing opinions. This may come in the form of compromising to reach a resolution that ultimately benefits everyone involved. Remember, just because you don’t necessarily agree with their ideas doesn’t mean the idea won’t work.
5. Follow through on commitments
Once a resolution is agreed upon, be sure to hold up your end of the bargain. Ask clarifying questions and repeat the solution back to the person to make sure you understand what’s expected from each party. The worst thing you can do in these situations is to not deliver on your commitments. This will only lead to yet another conflict that could’ve easily been avoided.