Tips & Trends: Handling Conflict At The Office Without Aggression

September, 2011

Misunderstandings and communication problems remain one of the most common sources of workplace strife, and interpersonal difficulties are magnified when conflicting work styles coexist in one setting. Generational differences, personal management styles, educational background, and cultural diversity are all potential sources of office misunderstandings. While conflict is inevitable, it need not ruin your workday or cause unbearable stress. Try these conflict resolution tips to make your work environment a less stressful, more productive place: Be specificin formulating your complaints. “I’m never invited to meetings” is not as effective as “Ibelieve I would have been able to contribute some ideas at last Thursday’s marketing meeting.” Resist the temptationto involve yourself in conflicts that do not directly involve you or yourresponsibilities. Even if someone has clearly been wronged, allow him or her to resolve the situation as he/she chooses. Try to depersonalize conflicts. Instead of a “me versus you” mentality, visualize an “us versus theproblem” scenario. This is not only a more professional attitude, but it will also improve productivity and is in the best interests of the company. Be open and listento another’s point of view and reflect back to the person as to what you think you heard. Before explaining your own position, try to paraphrase and condense what the other is saying into one or two sentences. Start with, “So you’re saying that…” and see how much you really understand about your rival’s position. You may find that you’re on the same wavelength but having problems communicating your ideas. Don’t always involve your superiorsin conflict resolution. You’ll quickly make the impression that you are unable to resolve the smallest difficulties. Take home point: It’s not all about you – You may think it’s a personal attack, but maybe your co-worker is just having a bad day. Take time to think before you speak in response to an insensitive remark. It may be that saying nothing is the best response.

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