From management to entry-level, in professional and industrial situations, individuals come from various backgrounds and life situations. They have various temperaments and personality traits. There are introverts and extroverts. From baby boomers to millennials, they have different attitudes and expectations. There is going to be workplace conflict. The answer is dealing with promptly and effectively. Following these eight keys will give you a head start.
Don’t ignore conflict: Just hoping it will go away never works. The longer you wait to deal with an issue, the bigger the issue becomes and the harder it is to work through. Take responsibility for solving the problem early – remember, even when the conflict is just between you and one other coworker, it affects everyone around you.
Focus on areas of agreement: When you see how much you have in common with your coworker, it is easier to accept where you are different. Most of the time, it’s not a matter of whose is right and who is wrong, but a willingness to accept where you are different while celebrating where you are the same.
Keep an open mind: Even if you remain on different sides of the fence concerning a particular issue, if you understand why they stand where they do, it’s easier to work around the differences and take different paths, while arriving at the same goal.
Focus on the real issue: Don’t use the conflict as a mud-slinging battleground. Stand back and take an objective look at the whole picture. Then name the problem and focus on solutions. Instead of jumping to conclusions, sit down with the person. Tactfully share your feelings and acknowledge theirs. Paraphrase their opinion back to them to enhance your comprehension. Just because your personalities are less than compatible does not mean you can’t work together for a satisfactory ending.
Take responsibility: Be willing to take an objective look at yourself and determine what you did or said to contribute to the situation. Ask your coworker if you offended them in some way. Even if they are the greater issue, apologize for your part and take responsibility for changing your actions. The goal isn’t proving that you were right – it’s working toward conflict resolution and completion of your project or daily job in a positive environment.
Respect differences: Be willing to accept that what is offensive to you might not matter even one iota to the other person or vice versa. Different cultural, political, economic, and religious backgrounds spur different reactions to situations. By taking the time to hear, and understand, where your opponent is coming from can make a huge impact. Often, something that is taken deeply personal was given with no personal intention.
Be willing to ask for help: If your efforts to resolve the conflict are futile and the situation is increasing, seek help from a superior who is in a position to be an objective mediator. Make a sincere effort to ask someone with whom you are both comfortable.
Don’t give up: Make sure the conflict is fully resolved. This won’t happen until both sides are satisfied with the result. Take time to set boundaries to prevent future conflict. Make a personal note of what you learned from the situation and how it can help you avoid a similar situation.
Experiencing workplace conflict is inevitable. Learning to deal with it effectively is an essential core to career satisfaction. In reality, it can ultimately influence your professional growth as much as your skills and experience.
Contact Springborn. We understand that conflict arises, but we aim to avoid it as much as possible by specializing in best-fit matches between candidates and clients in Bangor and Portland, Maine