How You Should Handle Workplace Conflicts

January 22nd, 2015

co-workers-294266_640Regardless of what business you are in, it is more than likely filled with passionate people who believe in the work they are doing. This passion can evolve into conflict between coworkers or vendors as each employee passionately defends their actions and beliefs about their work and how they feel it should be done. Conflict on its own is not necessarily a bad thing as it can inspire people and help businesses find the most efficient way of doing things. However, how you act during a conflict will have consequences. It is important to be mindful of your actions during a conflict situation so when it is over you come out on top, regardless of whether you were the winner or the loser of the argument.

Watch Your Language

While it is common sense not to swear in any workplace discussion, when we are angry or upset these words can simply slip out. You must censor yourself even when you are at your angriest. Remember to clearly communicate your point of view. Watching your language doesn’t just apply to swearing, however, as the tone of your voice and how you say something can be considered just as offensive as that accidental, four-letter word that slipped out. Convey your thoughts clearly but leave out any words that could be considered inflammatory or simply over the top so you can be sure a simply conflict doesn’t escalate out of control.

Know Your Facts

Everyone has fudged the facts in the heat of the moment. However, if you accuse someone during a conflict of something they didn’t do there could be serious repercussions. Before engaging in any type of confrontation in the workplace be sure you know all the facts surrounding the situation and are prepared to argue your case with the truth on your side.

Do Not Gossip

Once a conflict is over you may be tempted to share your experience with your coworkers. Engaging in office gossip is one of the easiest ways you can hurt your position and cause severe damage to your reputation. Even if your latest run in with a colleague isn’t a big secret, avoid discussing it with other employees if at all possible. After all, if your boss finds out you spilled the beans you will quickly find your credibility has been damaged beyond repair.

Always Be Civil

Whether your conflict was with another employee in your office or with a vendor, chances are you will run into them again and may even have to continue to work with them on a regular basis. Regardless of how serious the issue was and what your feelings about the other parties involved are, it is important to always remain civil when interacting with your colleagues. Remember, the other person likely feels the same way you do. Kill them with kindness so you can salvage as much of the relationship as you can and continue to work with them.

Keep in mind that believing in the work you do and how you do it is a good thing and defending how you do things to others that don’t agree is perfectly natural and a welcome part of business. What you must remember is that how you act during the conflict will not only reflect on you but also on the business you represent. Simply taking into account  what you say, how you say it and how you react after an argument will go a long way towards helping or hurting your career.

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