Conflict in The Workplace: Are You the Problem?

Healthy conflict is part of a normal work environment. But the sort of conflict that comes from negativity and unresponsive personality clashes can do real and lasting damage to the work environment and the productivity of your projects. To effectively handle conflict with coworkers, it’s really important to take a step back and evaluate whether you are a part of the problem. Because you can be sure that if you are, you’ll also be part of the solution. Here are a few things you can do to help nip bigger problems in the bud.

Evaluate the Situation Effectively

If you find yourself in a conflict with another staff member at work, the first thing you need to do is cool off. Look at the situation from a broader perspective if you can. Chances are that both parties are too close to the problem to prevent it from becoming personal. Take that step back to make it not personal, and look at the issue from the other person’s perspective. Sometimes that act alone can be enough to show you what’s driving the conflict, and therefore manage it more effectively. Coming back to the conversation after emotions have had time to level off and everyone has had the chance to look at things from a different perspective can result in great strides forward, not to mention more productive conversation around the original issue.

Keep It Professional

Work can become very personal very fast, especially if someone feels their job or their efforts are coming under attack. But remind yourself that you should address the issue as a professional and handle the problem as best you can on their own. Part of working with a team effectively is dealing with conflicts that naturally arise in a positive and collaborative manner. If you are having difficulty with that part of your job on a regular basis, it’s possible there are bigger issues at stake and that you should evaluate whether this is the right job for you in the long term.

Identify Your Triggers and Stress Factors

High-stress levels can have a negative influence on your thoughts and feelings. They can cloud your judgment, and prevent you from doing your best work.  Stress has a natural tendency to make small conflicts about bigger issues. So, if you are feeling stress on the job, even just in general, try your best not to bring those triggers to the conflict if they are not directly related to the matter at hand. Do you react poorly under pressure? Are you getting defensive in response to criticism? Are you worried about your career and how small obstacles and upsets will impact your overall performance? These issues can drive your stress High-stress levels can make any job more difficult, so ask yourself whether you are managing your stress appropriately.

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