Conflict in the workplace is inevitable and not entirely within our control, but how we respond to it is. Conflict that reaches excessive levels can fracture working relationships and create an environment that is unpleasant and ineffective. How you handle conflict depends 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 are able to handle the incident in a professional manner.
- Respect the other person's right to privacy and dignity. Try not to engage in conflict in front of coworkers or 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 without mentally rehearsing your response. Really listen. 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 an employee struggling with interpersonal conflict in the workplace? Are you a supervisor or manager who needs guidance in handling a sensitive or difficult situation with an employee? Call 919-416-1727 to schedule a PAS consultation.