Conquering Conflict In The Workplace
Learn how to resolve conflict in the workplace by being empathetic, but candid and asertive.
You have in your office the proverbial one bad apple who disrupts everything. She is the master of passive disobedience & passive aggression. She applied for the job and you got it. She ignores any form of authority from you, teamwork & structure, disobeys instructions and goes her own merry way. You don't have the time to police her, are not by nature a vindictive, vengeful person and you are aware of the fact that despite all the damage she has done, she needs her job. You are also wary of going about things the wrong way. How do you conquer the conflict, and perhaps even build a better relationship with her? Here are a few suggested steps you could take:
Seek to understand
We all feel our point of view is important and deserves attention. Many times, however, we spend more time tying to get others to listen to us rather than listening to them, and interrupt while others speak, often missing what they are trying to say. But the first step to being heard is to listen. So the next time you have a potentially confrontational situation with your adversary, stop and listen while she talks. Listen to what she is saying, not with the idea of refuting it, but with a wish to hear and understand her point of view.
Discuss the issue face to face
One of the most important factors in communication is the body language we display. We need the eye contact, facial expressions, nods to signify understanding and many other body movements, which add sub-titles to what we are verbally saying. Face to face communication gives us the opportunity to listen to the other point of view, and adjust ours accordingly.
Trying to resolve work conflicts via e-mail, memos, or letters usually doesn't work. Worse, a note written in anger is a permanent record of your indiscretion. A good rule of thumb is to meet in person unless it is impossible to do so. Another is to keep your disagreement confidential. Avoid involving others in personal disputes.
Check your emotions and your attitude
Conflicts are rarely resolved rationally when either party is angry, agitated, or highly emotional. Take time to calm down if you're angry.
Stick to the current issue
One of the most common pitfalls of conflict resolution is the temptation to bring up the past. Getting sidetracked during a discussion is easy to do, particularly if you have delayed your talk and allowed resentment to build during a conflict. But ambushing your adversary with unresolved issues from months or even years ago is unproductive and unfair. Chalk the past up to experience and address the present issue only.
Speak for yourself
During the meeting, avoid word like ‘ we feel that…’ or ‘everyone is the office thinks.’ Speak only for yourself and where you need back up, use company policies and structures already outlined. For example, you may say something like:’ I notice that you only arrive at the office at ten in the morning, even though your letter of appointment clearly states that you begin work at eight in the morning, ‘ or ‘ In the past month, you reported directly to Mr X, when the your job description states clearly that you would report to your division manager, which is me.’
You should both win
Approach the discussion with a sincere desire to achieve a win-win outcome. Be honest with yourself and check your motives. If you have any desire to "get even," sort out and dispel these unhealthy feelings before you proceed. If you don't, the other person will feel threatened and resentful, and you'll make the situation worse.