Welcome back everyone and today I wanted to take a look at workplace conflict - something that I know most of us will have come across at some stage in our working lives.
Conflict in the workplace can be a huge source of emotional and in fact physical stress for an employee. Difficult interpersonal relationships, differences of opinion, personality clashes amongst other things can often occur and can sometimes be difficult to ignore.
The obvious thing would be to say avoid conflict where possible, certainly don't go looking for it, but if it is affecting you, if you do find yourself in a position where conflict has become unavoidable then here are five tips to help you make steps towards resolution:
1. What is acceptable behaviour to you? Define this before moving further, take time out to reflect on the situation and really identify the issue that needs to be resolved. Some conflicts are inevitable when it comes to different opinions and personalities. Make sure you pick your battles wisely and really dig down and be honest with yourself as to whether this is a real problem or just something that bothers you but that you could actually learn to deal with.
2. Tackle the issue sooner rather than later. If you decide that you do need to take further action then don't hang around waiting for things to get worse. Tackle the issue head on and put effort into resolving things as soon as possible.
3. Keep calm. It may be difficult but losing your temper and not being in reasonable control of your emotions won't help you. Take a break and a breather if you feel emotions start to flare and try to enter any conversations and resolutions with a calm and open mind. Being wound up and ready to burst isn't going to help anyone.
4. Seek advice. Where possible seek advice from a colleague, HR or your Manager. Don't sit there feeling that you have to keep it all to yourself and suffer. This isn't an excuse to have a moan either, be constructive and discuss the issue, how you feel about it and perhaps offer ideas on your part for how to resolve things. If you're worried that this makes you look like you're being difficult don't, conflict is common and as long as you can demonstrate an understanding and a willingness to make things better then people will be happy to help you. No-one wants to hear that a member of their staff is suffering in silence.
5. Talk. When the time comes invite the person with whom the main conflict has arisen to have a constructive chat about it. Find space and time to do this un-disturbed. Be polite and professional - refer to point 3! You may be surprised to find that they don't even realise they're causing an issue by doing what they're doing and are happy and willing to make changes. Of course you may find that they respond with difficulty but it is still important to have this discussion. Don't be sensitive to learning about your part in the situation and how the other person may feel towards your actions and behaviour. You may have to make changes yourself and maybe even apologise for your own contribution before things can move forward. The important thing is to have the discussion and find a mutual route to resolution.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation at work remember that you're not alone and that it isn't unusual for issues to arise. Don't bottle it in - seek advice and work towards a suitable solution. I hope that the above tips are helpful but please don't hesitate to share with me your own experiences and how you worked things out. It's always great to connect and take the discussion further.
Have a great Wednesday all!