Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Conflict at Work

Co-worker problems? Watch "Dealing with Difficult Co-workers".

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. Dealing with conflict can be uncomfortable at best. At times, it can be downright rude, mean, and unprofessional. Conflict that reaches this level can fracture relationships, creating an environment that is unpleasant and ineffective.

How to handle conflict can depend on several factors: who is involved in the conflict, the content of the issue, and the goals of the people involved.

Guidelines for handling conflict skillfully:

  • Avoid reacting in the heat of the moment: While it is tempting to launch a stinging comeback when you feel you have been wronged, take a moment (or longer!) to step away from the situation. Come back to it when you feel calmer and able to handle the incident in a professional manner.
  • Respect the other person's right to privacy and dignity: Never engage in conflict in front of coworkers, and never say things to deliberately embarrass or humiliate a coworker.
  • Make sure you have all the facts, not just what you think you know: Before escalating a conflict, be sure you have all the information you need. It is easy to think we know the whole story when a vital piece of information that would change the entire situation is either missing or incorrect.
  • Listen and do not interrupt: Allow the other person to say what they have to say. Do not interrupt, even if they are incorrect. Do not raise your voice, even if the other person does.
  • Be willing to compromise: No one gets their way all the time. Look for places where compromise can happen.

Are you a supervisor or manager who needs guidance in handling a sensitive or difficult situation with an employee? Duke PAS can help.

Are you an employee struggling with interpersonal conflict in the workplace? Call PAS at 919-416-1727 to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns with a counselor.