Workplace tension is a very common thing in society. Many people go to work angry each day because they have to work with someone they don’t get along with. Problems with coworkers can gradually manifest and become major issues that can affect job performance and can divide the work environment and make your coworkers uncomfortable. While it may seem like the best idea to ignore the situation in the hopes that it will go away, that is not the best solution. Here are some tips on how to deal with workplace conflict.
Communicate the Issue
Most of the conflicts people have in all aspects of their lives are due either to poor communication or miscommunication. When you have a conflict in the workplace, the best thing to do to resolve the issue is to talk about it with the individual you have the problem with. If you do not talk to the individual about the issue, chances are, he or she may not even know that there is an issue, especially when the issue you have is something another individual in the office is doing. It may bother you, but if you do not confront the situation, the person causing you harm would never know that he or she has to stop doing what they are doing.
Remain Calm and Collected When Approaching the Situation
The worst thing anyone can do is to get into a screaming match in the workplace. Escalated voices and profanity are highly inappropriate, so it is important that you remain calm when approaching the issue or conflict. If the issue is with one person in particular, privately pull the individual aside and calmly express your problem. The best place to discuss the problem is behind closed doors in a neutral area. For example, office conference rooms are ideal locations because each party can return to their workstations after the discussion, and neither party would feel as if he or she has the upper hand because the discussion is taking place in his or her office. When it is time to discuss the issue, speak calmly and clearly in order to effectively get your message across. It does not help the situation to immediately start arguing with the individual, nor does finger pointing or placing blame lead to a solution.
Listen Twice as Much as You Talk
There is a high probability that the person you have a problem with also has a problem with you. Therefore, once you have presented your side if the argument, allow the other individual to also express him or herself. If he or she also has an issue with you, have an open mind and listen to everything the individual has to say. Because you are coworkers, there should be a certain level of respect present. Extend the same courtesy to the other individual as he or she extended to you while you presented your grievances. When both parties listen to each other, you may both come to realize the role each of you played in the conflict and may be able to come up with a reasonable solution.
Do Not Discuss Your Grievances with Other Coworkers
When you have a problem with someone, the easiest thing to do is to talk about the issue with everyone except the person with whom you have the issue. However, by talking about the issue with other coworkers, you are opening yourself up to office gossip that can spread like wildfire. The last thing you want is for the both of you to be called into the boss’s office to explain the problem as if you were two children in middle school that had just been called down to the principal’s office. Most of office gossip is untrue, and jobs can be on the line when false gossip reaches the ears of your superiors. By the time you get the chance to explain your side of the story, it may be too late. Avoid sharing your problems with a coworker with other people in the office at all costs. If you want to discuss the problem, it should either be with your boss or with the individual person you have the issue with.
Tension in the workplace can make things very difficult and uncomfortable for all parties involved. If a problem arises in the workplace, try to resolve situation as soon as possible.