Conflict – something that almost everyone dreads and tries to avoid. But try as we might, eventually conflict will arise. How you handle it is up to you. There are both good and bad ways to dealing with conflict. Below I’ve outlined the do’s and don’ts to managing conflict in the workplace.
Don’t: Avoid the Problem
Conflict isn’t one of those things that if you ignore it long enough, it will eventually go away. In fact, this will only escalate the situation. That said, do take a moment to think through the best course of action to avoid an overemotional response. But even then, don’t let that drag on and avoid tackling the issue head on.
Do: Communicate Clearly
Being vague or not being 100% clear about the issue at hand will make things worse instead of remedying the situation. Instead, be clear about the problem you’re addressing and your proposed solution.
Don’t: Let Your Emotions Get the Best of You
Humans are emotional beings and sometimes it’s difficult to keep our emotions in check. No matter how much you want to lash out and scream at someone because of the conflict, don’t do it. Take a minute, breathe, and try to think things through rationally.
Do: View it as an Opportunity
For conflict to happen, tensions arose from somewhere - whether it was a dispute over the direction of a project, communication breaking down within a team, or anything else. Whatever it may be, resolving the issue provides an opportunity for a fresh start. You’ll able to clear the air and go forward without any barriers in your way.
Don’t: Be a Bully
It’s easy to get defensive when conflict happens and immediately think you’re in the right. In an attempt to prove the other parties wrong, you become a bully and try to force them to your way of thinking. Though they may give up and agree with you, this doesn’t truly solve the issue at hand. Instead, remain level headed, listen to what the other party has to say, and bring in a neutral third party if need be to help mitigate the issue.
Do: Deal with the Situation Directly
When conflict arises, resist the urge to talk to everyone about it but the person you are having an issue with. Yes, you can seek counsel from a trusted advisor on what to do with the situation. But ultimately you need to talk with the parties involved in the conflict directly and sooner rather than later.
How do you manage conflict? What are some of the strategies that you employ? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+.
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