Dealing with conflict at work can make your life miserable. Not only does conflict interfere with your ability to be productive, but it’s also personally draining and damaging. However, no matter what you do there’s always going to be conflict in life. The key to surviving conflict is knowing how to deal with it respectfully and effectively. Check out the following five tips to help you deal with conflict at work.
1. If You Decide To File A Complaint, Come Prepared With Specifics
One of the biggest errors you can make is filing a complaint without having anything to back it up. If you’re not prepared, your complaint under scrutiny will eventually boil down to you simply not liking the other person. This line of reasoning isn’t going to be accepted by human resources, mediators or your boss.
When filing a complaint, do your best to focus on specific events and repeated behaviors. If you can give examples and avoid generalizing, your complaint will be taken seriously. By focusing on specific events and behaviors instead of disliking everything the person does, it’s easier to find common ground and a solution.
2. Consult With An Employment Lawyer
If conflict at work is getting out of control, you should consult with an employment lawyer. Employment lawyers specialize in protecting your rights and assurances as an employer. If you’re not sure what kind of leverage you have or what your conflict may put at risk, you should consult with an employment lawyer.
3. Look For Areas Where You Do Agree
One of the best ways to resolve workplace conflict is looking for small areas where the two parties agree. Mutual respect is usually found when you look at the work itself and not the two participants. If you focus on the work and task at hand, it’s easier for two conflicting parties to sit in a room and share assessments with each other based on areas of commonality.
In addition to finding areas of commonality, the two conflicting parties should also agree on which aspect of the conflict is most important to resolve. If the dispute is causing arguments and interrupting workflow, this would be the first issue to address. Both parties need to work on a plan to address and resolve the most crucial issue.
4. What’s In It For Me?
If you just can’t seem to resolve a problem, you probably haven’t done a good enough job of answering the question “what’s in it for me”? Before you can understand someone’s behavior or attempt to reason with them, you must understand their motivations. If you can help a person achieve his or her motives, conflict is easy to avoid. Understanding what drives people is also a good starting point for finding common ground.
5. Don’t Wait To Handle An Issue
Waiting to handle an issue at work only causes more problems. If you’re waiting for a situation to blow over or hoping that a person won’t behave a certain way again, you’re going to be disappointed. The issue can only get worse over time if you don’t take the time to address the problem.
Often, co-workers will attempt to resolve an issue by pretending everything is normal when it’s not. Although it may be difficult, you need to be that person to lay everything out on the table. Having occasional frank discussions help both parties understand each other better. It’s also easier to avoid future conflicts if one person is willing to step up and address issues instead of letting them fester.
All in all, conflict is a natural part of working on a team. What sets companies apart is their ability to empower their employees to handle conflict safely and respectfully. Use the five suggestions in this blog post to your advantage when faced with conflict!