Conflict is an unavoidable part of employment, especially if you’re in a leadership role. Like most people, you and your coworkers are likely to butt heads over personal issues as well as professional issues. How you handle these disputes can have a major impact on your work environment, and thus on your desirability as an employee. Therefore, when dealing with confrontation in the workplace, you should consider the following tips:
If you enter a discussion with absolute certainty that you’re right and the other person is wrong, you may fall into a trap of trying to get them to capitulate rather than seeking common ground. This way of approaching conflict can be toxic, so try to keep an open mind during confrontations.
Let things cool off.
Forcing a confrontation when both parties are already upset over an issue is unlikely to lead to a satisfactory conclusion. While it’s important not to let conflicts fester, you should take a little time to let everyone calm down before addressing them.
Assume the best and listen actively.
If you approach a confrontation with the mindset that whomever you’re in conflict with is actively out to get you, you’re less likely to find a positive solution. Instead, assume he or she will be willing to listen to and work with you. Once you’re actually talking to each other, make sure you really listen to what he or she is saying, and try to understand his or her point of view. What does this person need in order to move past the conflict?
Accept that you may be contributing to the conflict.
If someone confronts you about your behavior, you need to actively listen and accept responsibility for things you might have done.
It’s important to let your anger go after you and your coworker have addressed the problem to the best of everyone’s ability. Don’t insist on perfection from your coworkers, and understand that you don’t have to be best friends with everyone in the office. You just need to get along well enough to get your jobs done.