Conflict In Work

Just like in other parts of your life, you may encounter people at work who upset you - or who behave in ways that impact  negatively on you.

Having a difficult relationship with co-workers can be stressful and can make work harder to manage. However, there’s an art in resolving problems at work and in achieving improved working relationships.

The following tips may help you to handle conflict situations better in the workplace:

Define Acceptable Behavior

Just clarify what constitutes acceptable behavior is a positive step in avoiding conflict. Creating a framework for decision making, using a published delegation of authority statement, encouraging sound business practices in collaboration, team building, leadership development, and talent management will all help avoid conflicts. 

Prevent if Possible

While you can’t always prevent conflicts, the secret to conflict resolution is in fact conflict prevention where possible. By actually seeking out areas of potential conflict and proactively intervening in a just and decisive fashion you will likely prevent certain conflicts from ever arising. If a conflict does flair up, you will likely minimize its severity by dealing with it quickly. Time spent identifying and understanding natural tensions will help to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Understanding the WIIFM Factor

Understanding the other professionals WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) position is critical. It is absolutely essential to understand other’s motivations prior to weighing in. The way to avoid conflict is to help those around you achieve their objectives. If you approach conflict from the perspective of taking the action that will help others best achieve their goals you will find few obstacles will stand in your way with regard to resolving conflict.

The Importance Factor

Pick your battles and avoid conflict for the sake of conflict. However if the issue is important enough to create a conflict then it is surely important enough to resolve. If the issue, circumstance, or situation is important enough, and there is enough at stake, people will do what is necessary to open lines of communication and close positional and/or philosophical gaps.

View Conflict as Opportunity

Hidden within virtually every conflict is the potential for a tremendous teaching/learning opportunity. Where there is disagreement there is an inherent potential for growth and development. Divergent positions addressed properly can stimulate innovation and learning in ways like minds can't even imagine. 

Bottom line… resolutions can normally be found where there is a sincere desire to do so. Turning the other cheek, compromise, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, finding common ground, being an active listener, service above self, and numerous other approaches will always allow one to be successful in building rapport if the underlying desire is strong enough. 

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