Sometimes, there is just that one coworker that gets on your last nerve. Other times, maybe the customers are the issue. Or your boss hands out last minute assignments like candy.
Whatever the issue, Office Upgraded has plenty of ways to help deal with conflict in the workplace. Funny enough, communication is the basis of many of them, and our first main suggestion.
You need to talk with the other person. Handling issues calmly and with good communication is a great way to start to diffuse conflict. There are a few key things here:
- Make sure to ask the other person when would be convenient to meet. You don’t want to interrupt their schedule or further antagonize them by confronting them in the middle of a big project or deadline.
- Arrange to meet in a place where you won’t be interrupted. Getting other coworkers involved is almost never a good idea. Having discussions in a quiet, private location is best for minor discussions or disagreements.
While talking, make sure to listen to the other person. Whether you think you will agree or not, hearing both sides of the disagreement is best. Plus, if the coworker thinks you are ignoring them or their opinion, they are unlikely to want to work with you to improve the situation.
While listening and discussing, make sure that you are focusing on behavior and events not on personalities, characteristics, or traits. If it sounds like you are attacking someone directly with your commentary or complaints, it is likely to worsen the situation. Considering HR might get involved, this is something you will want to avoid.
Focusing on what happened, and phrasing things delicately, can avoid worsening an argument. Additionally, it can help everyone involved figure out the best way to avoid potential problems.
Along with this you want to identify points of agreement and disagreement. Focusing on the problem at hand is one thing. But, you also want to find areas where you agree. What things could you both continue to do that would help? What do you like that your coworker does? Is there anything that both of you need to improve on?
Of course, there are always things you will disagree with. Getting to the main point of this disagreement shortens the discussion, avoids unnecessary involvement of other coworkers, and sorts out the situation more quickly.
This is along the lines of giving constructive feedback. Rather than negativity, giving constructive feedback that includes positives, and gentle corrections, is much more effective. Constructive feedback helps improve morale, reduces confusion regarding expectations, and positively impacts behavior.
In order to give constructive feedback, you want to focus on observation, rather than making assumptions and interfering if you disagree with an action. Like previously mentioned, you also want to focus on behavior, rather than the individual.
Besides phrasing your feedback kindly, you want to focus specifically on things that can be changed, and provide recommendations and solutions. Rather than saying “You’re doing that wrong,” try “I’ve found that doing [insert action here] works a little better. Maybe try that next time?”
Constructive feedback is one of the best ways to improve situations and avoid further conflict. Combining that with the other recommendations in this article will help you sort out problems at work, avoid future issues, and make your work life a happier one.
For a more concise list of our suggestions, keep reading below:
- Talk with the other person
- Listen to the other person
- Focus on behavior and events
- Identify points of agreement and disagreement
- Give constructive feedback
Just to motivate you to work on communication and dealing with conflict, check out our article on Contrary to Popular Belief, Working on a Team CAN Be Easier.
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