Resolving conflict at work: human beings are social creatures, but that doesn’t always mean we are the nicest to each other. Even though we all admit that we’re “in this
together”, sometimes you want to just rip someone’s face off, or, at the least, hope something bad will happen to their face. This can be an especially big problem at high stress situations, most specifically, the workplace. For years, some of the worst and most violent disagreements take place at, or because of, conflict at work. But this is a pattern you do not need to fall victim to. Social scientists have spent years on ways to resolve conflict at work. Here are a couple of their tips.
First, to diffuse a conflict at work, you must try to find and emphasize common ground. Most of the time, a conflict at work arises out of a disagreement on a particular issue. Usually, this disagreement underlies a very similar mentality. People rarely disagree with each other in spite when there is something to be gained. Most of the time, this disagreement stems from different perspectives or opinions. However, the goal behind the opinions are almost always the same; saving money, expanding, increasing profit potential or efficiency. It is not the “why” that causes conflict, but the “how.” When you find yourself in this conflict, remind all involved of this; “how’s” can be altered, added and subtracted, but the “why” is crucial to any cohesive organization.
Be direct. Many times during a conflict at work, or anywhere else for that matter, a conflict draws out emotions. People have different emotional responses to a conflict and, everyone, when feeling such a cocktail of negative and angry emotions, have trouble seeing and thinking clearly, even you. This leads to a preponderance of misunderstandings which highlight and further enrage the conflict. It is important in these times to be direct, concise and clear, even obviously so. So many conflicts could be diffused simply by assuming that things need to be clarified.
Finally, a crucial part is to try to solve your conflict at work by yourself. Bringing in co-workers is damaging; it informs them that you need there help for a basic task and lowers their respect for you accordingly. Even worse is bringing in your boss or manager. These people are usually busy and this distraction (which is how they will see it) will long after be associated with you. In a negative way. Finally, the person with whom you are in conflict will remember that you cannot fight your own battles. Whenever possible, address these conflicts without help and simply, quietly, and quickly.
A conflict at work is almost inevitable. A point to remember is that other people are listening, either directly, or through gossip. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner and follow these few tips if conflict arises in your workplace.