Keeping Your Cool Around the Water Cooler: 5 Keys to Handling Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict is inevitable, especially in a high-stress environment. There is no better example of this than in the workplace.

Over half of Americans are unhappy at work. A big portion of that unhappiness comes from coworkers and bosses. Clearly, this isn’t the environment that anyone running a business is striving for. It also isn’t ideal for anyone trying to make a living.

Although there may not be a perfect solution for ending tension in the office, there are several ways of handling it to ensure productivity and effective communication going forward.

Here are 5 keys to handling conflict in the workplace.

1. Better Listening

One of the biggest problems in most relationships, professional or not, is a lack of communication.

It takes 23 minutes for your brain to get back to where it left off after an interruption. Considering how many interruptions and distracting moments occur every day, this can cause a lack of efficiency that everyone prefers to avoid.

Paying attention to what others are saying and responding constructively helps alleviate a lot of potential misunderstandings.

2. Don’t Ignore It

One of the more counterproductive things you can do when conflict arises is ignoring it. One of the first steps to clearing any conflict in the workplace is to acknowledge stressors.

If there is a problem, the first step is to make it known. Don’t be afraid to employ a philosophy of assertive communication in your interactions with co-workers.

In doing so, everyone will be able to work together in order to find a solution. If problems are kept under the surface, you risk it building into something direr than it needs to be.

3. Make Time for Yourself

It’s easy to let work stress bleed into personal lives. If an individual is perpetually stressed, they are more likely to take it out on the people working around them.

Life can get pretty busy but there are still plenty of ways to relax despite a crowded schedule.

It’s important to take care of yourself first and foremost, this will create positivity from the inside that will reduce the potential for conflicts at work.

4. Resist Judgement

The workplace is full of diversity. This is a wonderful thing but it can often lead to disagreements because of certain differences.

Part of being part of a team includes being more open to ideas that you previously weren’t exposed to. It also means finding ways to appreciate the variety of skill sets that coworkers bring to the table.

Be supportive, encouraging and speak honestly when a disagreement arises.

5. Find Forgiveness

If there are past issues that have yet to be resolved, one of the best courses of action is to forgive.

Forgiveness in the workplace shows great leadership skill. Eliminating past disputes will give you the opportunity to begin anew.

Handling Conflict In The Workplace 

Maneuvering stress and relationships at work is difficult but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Instead of letting disagreements replace productivity, use these tips the next time there’s conflict in the workplace.

If you do, everyone will be happier and business will flourish. Check out more of our blog for workplace advice, tips, and tricks.

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