Managing conflict in the workplace
Conflict is something we all have to live with. It is a part of our make-up going back 10′s of thousands of years ago. It is how we handle it that can make the difference between a toxic workplace or relationship, or a place that is positive and collegial.
How do you handle conflict? Do you go running for the hills or dig your heels in and get down and dirty? I personally think either approach is a recipe for disaster. So what are my words of wisdom?
If you are the recipient of a verbal attack from a co-worker, friend or family member. Take a deep breath and listen carefully to the words that are coming from the individual expressing them. If there is some truth to the words, then perhaps you can defuse the situation by owning the behaviour or actions you took that upset the person confronting you and tell them that you will make every effort not repeat the behaviour or action that upset them so.
If on the other hand you feel the attack is unwarranted still take a deep breath and instead of coming back at the individual with all six guns blazing speak in a softer, measured and non aggressive tone, and see if this helps defuse the situation. If this does not work and the individual is still seemingly hostile and aggressive towards you then simply tell them in a non-confrontational way that you would be willing to discuss their issues when they have calmed down. If that fails and you feel the situation is escalating then try to find a third-party who is respected in your workplace to act as a moderator or referee to help diffuse the conflict.
Conflict can only happen when there are two people involved. If you decide not to participate by keeping your head about you and remaining cool and non-confrontational there is a reasonable chance the conflict can be diffused quickly.
I would rather be an individual who is liked by other people than being the guy who is always right.