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How to Handle Conflict at Work

Mar 1, 2019

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Conflict is almost unavoidable, especially in the office. You will eventually run into a disagreement with either your boss, your coworkers, or clients. Each case is different, but there are some general rules that can help you reach an agreement, or at least defuse tension. Sometimes one side might have to make a bigger sacrifice, but it is important to remember that at the end of the day, you and your coworkers are all on the same side and just want what is best for the company.

Always Remain Professional
You are hired to represent the company and you are expected to maintain a level of professionalism when on the job. Swearing, screaming, and crying does not mean that you are right. In fact, it will make people not want to listen to you at all. Approaching the subject with a clear head and a rational mindset will lead to a productive discussion and people will respect your ability to handle yourself in stressful situations. Even if the other person is trying to escalate the situation, it is imperative that you be as level headed as possible. If you ever fear for your safety, alert the authorities right away and try and put as much distance between you and the threat.

Lead With Empathy
It is hard to admit to ourselves that sometimes we may be wrong or are being unfair. It is even ok to admit that you might not know as much about the subject as you think and that you need time to do research. Most people don’t want to fight, they just want you to see from their point of view. It is up to you to listen first, speak last. It may just be that there is just a misunderstanding and there isn’t a disagreement at all. Put yourself in their shoes as much as possible so you can come to an agreement sooner. Understand that other viewpoints besides your own are valid and can even be very helpful.

Get A Moderator
Don’t be afraid to get an outside opinion. Someone who does not have an emotional bias will be able to objectively judge what the best option and can add new insight to the problem. Human Resources is here for this exact reason. Try to sit down with your HR representative and have them hear both sides of the argument. You can even go to your boss or another coworker if you both agree to it and see what they think. Adding a new point of view can help lead in the conversation in the right direction, but sometimes it can make the situation even more complicated. Use your best judgment when deciding to get other people involved, but just know that it could help you in the long run.

Arguing with people is a very stressful experience. There are times when you might feel like you want to scream in frustration, but knowing how to handle yourself in conflicts is a great life skill to master. There will be times when you don’t get along with people, so it is important to strive to find a solution and not just try and prove the other person wrong. Creating a better workplace is something that we can all strive to do, and we can start by being a little more understanding of each other.

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