Conflict is inevitable. If you’re not careful, it can lead to morale problems, lower productivity, and a tarnished reputation. But with the right approach, you can handle these conflicts without fear of negative consequences. Here are 10 practical tips to help you do just that:
1. Understand the difference between a conflict and a problem
Not every issue is an actual conflict. If there’s a problem, figure out what you can do to solve it. Once you’ve done that, move on. However, this is often easier said than done because problems tend to be complicated to solve. If you feel stuck, consider looking for outside help or meeting with others who can provide a fresh perspective.
2. Be proactive about addressing workplace issues
At work, you can’t always avoid confrontations. But, if you address the problem early on, these conflicts probably won’t escalate into full-blown disputes that spill over into other areas of your life. So when a conflict comes up in a meeting or elsewhere, speak up right away. Don’t let it fester and cause a snowball effect.
3. Set boundaries to avoid over-committing yourself
If you feel like you’re constantly failing to meet your obligations at work, it could be because of burnout. This is when you get overwhelmed and can’t take on any more responsibilities. Although this may seem like a problem for your manager, the real culprit is typically an over-commitment of yourself. So keep track of all of your assignments and set boundaries, then take a break if you need to.
4. Take time for self-care
You’re only human, and because of that, you need downtime. If you don’t come up for air every once in a while, it won’t be long before stress starts taking a toll on your mental and physical health. So, to stay healthy when faced with workplace struggles, make sure you have the time or energy to take care of yourself. This means eating well and getting regular exercise, as well as carving out time for downtime.
5. Practice assertive communication skills
Confrontation and conflict often go hand in hand, but you can handle these situations without fear of negative consequences by being assertive. For example, when dealing with a difficult person at work, take responsibility for your actions and use “I” statements. When someone asks you to do something that’s beyond your job duties, politely say no without explanation. Doing so will likely help you avoid workplace conflict and the stress that comes with it.
6. Seek support from colleagues when warranted
If a conflict is making you feel anxious, or if it’s getting out of control, turn to your coworkers. For example, invite a coworker for a cup of coffee and ask what they think about the situation. While brainstorming solutions to the problem is ideal, sharing your concerns with someone else will likely help diffuse some of that tension.
7. Find ways to make your job less stressful
It can be difficult to deal with workplace conflict when you’re drowning in stress. We often end up taking the issue out on those around us, which creates another problem. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed at work, find ways to decrease that stress, like taking a break or communicating with your manager.
8. Respond with a solution rather than a reaction
When you let your emotions get the best of you, it’s easy to react rather than respond. However, this often causes people to lash out and say things they won’t mean later on. So if someone triggers you, take a step back before responding with a solution instead of an emotional reaction that may hurt them or damage your reputation.
9. Seek help for conflict resolution from a neutral third party
When you feel at odds with another coworker, mediation may be the best solution. And if your manager isn’t available to help, mediation can also provide a solution when you conflict with them. So look for credible professionals to handle your mediation employment disputes because it will be a win-win solution for everyone involved.
10. Allow yourself to change when needed
Everyone has a different way of approaching situations, and that includes how you handle workplace conflicts. However, if you can pinpoint what’s causing these conflicts to happen in the first place, it may be time to change your approach. Whether you need to speak up when something bothers you or set better boundaries with coworkers, this is about finding a healthier way to resolve these issues so you can get back to work.
Most people will try to avoid conflict like the plague, but when you don’t confront it, it will only get worse. However, workplace conflicts can be resolved in a healthy manner with the right approach that doesn’t lead to more problems or tarnish your professional reputation. So, hopefully, these tips can help you address the issues in your workplace before they snowball.