How to Handle Workplace Conflict

No one can really win a conflict in the work environment. Winning means that things have gone your way regardless of what the other individual wants. If conflict is not resolved through a compromise so that everyone is happy, it is likely to reoccur. It’s important that they do get resolved as conflicts could result in tension, a breakdown in communication, and low efficiency in the workplace.

It's important to understand that conflicts are likely to happen in the workplace, particularly if changes or new ideas are being discussed. Not everyone responds well to new ideas or is adaptable to change, which makes it extra important to be open minded and understanding of such individuals. When people express their unhappiness about something it merely means that they care enough to disagree. The important thing is not to let conflicts drag on. Ensure that you nip issues in the bud by addressing them sooner rather than later. Problems tend to arise due to what wasn't said rather than what was said.  In many situations, we want the other individual to admit that they were wrong, but the last thing you want is for the situation to turn into a nasty waiting game.

The way you confront the person/people you disagreed with is important. It's probably better to open with "Hey, I was wondering why..." than, "Why the f*** did you..." Your wording makes a world of difference. Sometimes the individual is unaware that they have done anything wrong; their actions had good intentions, even if they did step on your toes in the process. It's important never to assume that a person's actions were out of spite. When you realise this, you'll find that any unnecessary anger you held towards that person will have evaporated into the air.

There will, of course, be occasions where it's your turn to do the apologising. In this case, be open and honest and own up to your wrongdoings.  The truth is, everyone involved in the conflict is responsible for creating and sustaining it, therefore, you only have to apologise for the part you played. Only take responsibility for your own actions. After you apologise, it's a good idea to remind the other party why it was a good idea to resolve the conflict. It's a great way to move forward and improve your relationship

There’s no guarantee that people are as open to your method of making up as you are, but at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that you tried. Pat yourself on the back, you rose above conflict and you can now call yourself the bigger person. If your method doesn't work, you can speak to your manager about the most effective way to resolve issues. (However, don't try and make the other party look like they're the one at fault!). Remember to adopt a constructive and positive way of addressing things. That way, you'll always seem like the cool, calm and collected one.

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Edited by Georgina Varley