"It's yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility." - Chris Knight


December 4, 2007 - 5:47 am - Posted by iDunzo

Ever held a differing opinion from your boss? Boasted dissimilar ideas than your co-worker? Been knocked out by a colleague over a disagreement about a project?

OK, so the last one might be a stretch, but it’s happened before… I’ve seen it. Ka-blam!

Like birth, death, taxes, choice and change, conflict is a constant fact of life. It’s also a fact of the workplace, especially when you deal or interact with people.

Make use of the following tips to resolve conflict at work:

1. Choose your battles

How important is the dispute really? Does it truly affect you, and is it a chronic problem? If it’s a one-time incident or mild transgression, let it pass.

2. Expect conflict

Decide that friction will occasionally emerge in the course of human relationships. Don’t fear it – rather, learn to spot the symptoms early and see opportunity in the resolution.

3. Use neutral language

Avoid judgmental remarks or sweeping generalizations, such as, “You always turn your reports in late.” Use calm, neutral language to describe what is bothering you.

For example: “I get very frustrated when I can’t access your reports because it causes us to miss our deadlines.” Be respectful and sincere, never sarcastic.

4. Practice preventive maintenance

Avoid retreating to the safety of withdrawal, avoidance or the simplistic view that your co-worker is a “bad person,”. These are defense mechanisms that prevent the resolution of conflict.

Try focusing on the problem, not the person. Never attack or put the other person on the defensive. Focus on actions and consequences.

5. Listen actively

Never interrupt the other party. Really listen and try to understand what the other person is saying.

Let him (or her) know you understand by restating or reframing his statement or position, so he knows you have indeed heard him.

6. Get leverage on yourself

When dissent between you and a co-worker appears without resolution, it is time to get leverage. Ask to be held accountable.

This brings your performance evaluation into the equation but without taking away your responsibility for resolving the conflict.

This is hard to do, but remarkable change can happen when you are held to task.

Remember to Fight the Good Fight and if you ever have conflict at work, remember these six tips. They could help save your mind, body and soul. If you feel you still need help navigating workplace conflicts, you could consider taking online negotiation courses from Creighton University.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 at 5:47 am and is filed under General, Random Thoughts, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


One Response to “Six Tips to Managing Workplace Conflict”

  1.  Dustin Boston says:

    You know the problem I always have with conflicts in the workplace is that I retreat into emotional arguments. For example “I feel like what you’re saying is wrong…”

    The problem with using a feeling based argument is that it can’t be discussed. It’s just you. And nobody can change the way you feel about something. I find that less productive than offering more rational, factual arguments.