Have you had a fall out with a work colleague that is affecting your team’s productivity? You won’t be surprised to hear that workplace conflict happens a lot. The working environment brings together people of all different backgrounds and personalities, so disagreements are commonplace. But what should you do when you find yourself in a dispute with one of your co-workers?
The last thing you want is to aggravate the problem. If you are not confrontational by nature, this can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to help resolve any workplace conflict. Here are six tips that you should consider to smooth out any problems.
If there is something that has irked you that a co-worker has done, be precise when you explain what the problem is. It is no good accusing someone of being selfish if they don’t understand what it is that makes you think that way. Avoiding ambiguity will mean you are both on the same wavelength, and you may even find that your disagreement comes down to a simple misunderstanding.
The tone of your voice will let the other person know that there is an issue. You are approaching this as adults, and an angry exchange will get you both nowhere, so try to come across as firm, but understanding. To help, try taking a few deep breaths before a confrontation to relax and get your thoughts in order.
Know What You Want
There’s no use in confronting someone if you are unsure of what resolution you want. After all, dealing with the problem is the reason for confrontation in the first place. Be very specific and outline how you can come together to resolve the situation. Also, add a little bit of leeway to your goal, so you have room to negotiate if they are not happy with your suggestion. Resolving workplace conflict differs from many other disagreements, as you are both working towards the same goal. You will both have to work together and make sacrifices to reach that target.
You will have your views and opinions, but you should always remember that so does your colleague. Listen intently to what they say, and take on board any criticisms that they may level at you. It usually takes two to start an argument, so be open to the fact that your actions may need to change as well.
Stick to the facts, and try to avoid emotion taking over and accusing people of actions they may not have done. Before you confront anybody, construct a list of what you know and decide if it is your opinion or a fact. If you have evidence to back up your claim, write it down and use it as a fact. Otherwise, it is just your opinion.
Pick Your Moment
Don’t go charging in at the first opportunity, as this is almost certainly not going to be the time when you are both receptive. Wait until you are calm and collected, and see if the other person is open to a chat before you raise any problems. If either of you is angry when you broach the subject, it is unlikely to end well.
Engaging in conflict is difficult at the best of times, but raising an issue in the workplace magnifies this challenge. However, disagreements need resolving for the benefit of everybody concerned. Taking on board a few pointers before you engage can make the difference between solving the issue, or making it worse.
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