The office is a place where a lot of different personalities come together and are expected to work together. While that’s a fair expectation for anyone who is hired at a job, it’s unrealistic to assume that conflict won’t occasionally arise. You could consider yourself to be a consummate professional, but you might still find yourself at odds with a co-worker. It’s nothing unusual and nothing to feel bad about. What’s important is how you handle the conflict. You want to resolve the conflict so each side is in agreement and a healthy working relationship can thrive. To achieve this, follow a few of our tips.
Address the conflict immediately.
When a conflict comes up, there’s no sense in dancing around it. When you see a disagreement heading towards a conflict, address it to the other party involved. This is essential for a couple reasons. Firstly, if you address the problem early, there’s a chance you could resolve it then and there and it need not go any further. Secondly, by ignoring it, tensions could rise, feelings could become raw and the whole thing could become a much bigger problem than it ever needed to be.
Don’t discuss it with other co-workers.
Avoid the temptation to gossip about the conflict to other coworkers. Sometimes, you might convince yourself that talking about it is therapeutic and might help you get over the issue. That’s no way to deal with it and it’s unfair. It’s unfair to the coworkers you’re gossiping with, bring them into a situation they have no part of, and it’s unfair to the co-worker you’re in conflict with as they are not there to defend themselves.
You should, however, feel free to discuss the conflict openly with the person you’re in conflict with. There really is no need to bring the issue to any supervisors until you’re able to have a conversation with the co-worker. It’s better for everyone if you can work the whole thing out amongst yourselves, but in order to do that, you need to be professional. Which brings me to the next tip…
Keep an open mind.
When you do get to the point where the two of you are able to discuss the issue, don’t blind yourself to your co-worker’s opinions and feelings on the matter. Really listen to what they have to say and why they feel that way. You may find that they have a valid point and that you’re in the wrong. But if not, do they the courtesy of listening to them.
Let cooler heads prevail.
Try to remove emotions from the equation. Chances are the reasons behind the conflict aren’t really personal even though it may seem that way at times. Your co-worker does not hate you and does not want to see you fired, so there’s no need to get too worked up about the issue. Dealing with it in a calm manner allows you to see the solutions more clearly and get this thing resolved.
Involve a third party when necessary.
Sometimes, a third party is required to resolve the conflict, but you need to know the appropriate time to bring in the help. Involving them too early doesn’t give you and your co-worker time to truly address the conflict. Yes, the third party might resolve the conflict for you, but then you may have this hanging between the two of you for quite a while. However, bring them in too late could mean the conflict has reached an unresolvable point. Again, speaking frankly and calmly with your co-worker, you should be able to determine when help is needed and when you can solve the thing yourselves.