How to Deal With Conflict in the Workplace

Are you close with your coworkers? Most people are; because the truth is, we spend more hours with our colleagues than with our friends or family. Because of this incredible bonding experience, we can become extremely comfortable with people that we work with. But on the other hand, it can sometimes lead to disagreements. Conflicts can make you feel uncomfortable and stressed out, even after we leave the office building.

At some point in your career, you will eventually come across a conflict. Handling these issues can be confusing and frustrating. Keep in mind that throughout the process, it’s important to handle the situation in a professional manner. Resolving the problem as soon as possible will help the issue from escalating into something bigger.

Here are 5 ways you can handle conflict using a professional approach:

1. Do NOT Gossip

Whatever you do, do not gossip about the situation. Office gossiping has a way of backfiring. You do not want to look unprofessional talking to your co-worker about a conflict that involves someone who they also work with. Not only is this unfair to your co-worker because your pulling them in the middle of the situation, but no one wants to work with someone who talks negatively about everyone.

2. Prevent Lingering

Address the issue sooner rather than later. This will help the issue from turning into a bigger problem, especially if the issue was a misunderstanding in the first place. If you do have an argument, wait until you both have calmed down to settle the disagreement in person. This will help both parties to think more clearly about the disagreement.

3. Meet Face-to-Face

It’s important to speak with your co-worker about a conflict face-to-face. You work in a professional setting so why not keep that an important aspect when you are trying to figure things out with your colleague. Remember that this is different than resolving an issue with a family member or a friend. How you handle the conflict now will allow you to keep the relationship intact.

4. Keep Your Chill

Let’s face it, you’re not going to walk out of this meeting in complete agreement. The main thing is to feel as if both parties felt that they were understood. Listening will be a key component to understanding where your co-worker is coming from. Keeping an open mind, as you allow your co-worker to explain how they feel will also help you explain your side of the story. Talking through the problem calmly will allow both of you to meet on common ground.

5. Invite a Third-Party to Join In

Generally, two adults are capable of resolving an issue themselves, but there are a few exceptions that everyone should keep on their radar. While you don’t want to rely on HR to solve all of your problems, don’t feel scared to reach out for help, especially, if your coworker feels the need to mistreat you because of race, sexuality, religion, age or even gender. By seeking help from HR right away, they will be able to take an appropriate approach to the situation and resolve the problem promptly.

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