Disputes at work are inevitable.
Even the most communicative team with the most well-intentioned employees will find they clash from time to time; ambitious people are passionate about what they do, and you won’t always share the same ideas as those around you. But more often than not, conflict arises because somebody isn’t pulling their weight, or their attitude is out of line, or they are being inconsiderate without realizing it.
In each of these cases, conflict is a better choice than biting your lip and staying shtum– for a number of reasons.
- Improvement is difficult or impossible without discussion and solutions.
- Simmering resentments tend to fester until they get out of hand.
- The tension of unexpressed anger can make you ill in the short- and long-run.
But that’s not to say you should just leap in. When tempers are strained and there’s important stuff at stake, it’s important to proceed with caution, strategy, and tact.
Your preparation process should begin with figuring out exactly where you stand on the subject. Think about the reason that the issue is upsetting you, and what can be done to resolve it. Decide what you want from the conflict, and where you’re prepared to compromise. If you’re super-nervous, practice with a friend before you go ahead and raise the issue with your colleague.
Preparing your arguments will empower you to present your case in a calm and organized way. It will give you the confidence to roll with the (metaphorical) punches and to adapt if the conversation goes in an unexpected direction. Being cool, clear, and concise will also encourage your colleague to act decently and to listen to what you have to say.
You need to listen, too. There are two sides to every argument, and even if you’re convinced you’re in the right you can learn about present and future situations by hearing your colleague out. Showing that you’re listening will hopefully inspire respect from your colleague even if they’re angry, sulking, or otherwise obstinate.
This detailed new visual guide to conflict resolution is well worth a look to help you figure out the minutiae of your approach – particularly if you’re the kind of person that usually prefers to avoid confrontation! Check it out, make your move, and you will both be free to get on with your jobs and enjoying your day-to-day work.
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