3 Tips for Managing Stress and Conflict in the Workplace

In a perfect world, the workplace would be a place to do your job without stress or conflict, but it’s unrealistic to think that stress and conflict aren’t going to happen at work. Stress is especially common when there’s pressure to meet a deadline, or because there has been a lot of change such as a merger or acquisition or if there’s a shortage of resources. Coworkers may turn on each other or blame each other for the stress they’re under.

Stress caused by too much work and too few resources isn’t the only thing that can trigger conflict at work. In many workplaces, the staff comes from widely different backgrounds and life experiences leading to differing perspectives. Poor leadership may cause conflict and stress to intensify rather than being resolved. Whatever the cause, managing stress and conflict in the workplace is imperative to avoid harming your physical or mental health.

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Identifying the Source of Your Stress

Before you can plan the best method for managing stress and conflict in the workplace, you need to be clear about what is causing your stress. If stress is triggered by unclear job descriptions or unrealistic expectations, it’s important to talk to your supervisor.

If your boss is overly critical or a micromanager, the best strategy may be to remain calm and be meticulous about your work. If you have an absentee boss that isn’t managing the department or paying attention to what is going on, be persistent about trying to get them to respond or get involved in issues you’re facing.

If you’re unable to get a response, you may want to reach out to other leadership in the company for guidance. If the problem is ineffective leadership, it may be tempting to consider a job change, but there’s no guarantee your next boss will be better than your current one.

Options for Stress Management

When stress isn’t caused by a conflict with others, there are several things you can do to help manage your stress. Exercising regularly, eating right and having a good sleep schedule are actions that can make it easier to cope with stress. Learn relaxation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing. Consider your own attitude and perspective and whether you’re focusing only on things that aren’t going your way.

Talk to supportive friends and family members about the things that are causing you stress. Sometimes talking about stressful situations may help you to sort things out. Many companies have an employee assistance program that provides help if you need counseling or support, which often includes online resources.

Conflict with Coworkers

Stress at work is frequently related to disagreements with coworkers. There are many possible triggers of conflict with coworkers from personality clashes to misunderstandings about who is responsible for what.

Honest and open communication is often the best way to work through conflict. Keep in mind that not all conflict is bad, and differences of opinion sometimes lead to new ideas that come from different perspectives. If you’re experiencing serious problems such as harassment or bullying, you’ll need to involve your supervisor or your HR department.

Disagreements over work can sometimes best be worked through with the help of a mediator, especially if the other party doesn’t seem to be listening and isn’t trying to work toward a solution. A supervisor can take on the role of mediator, or you may want to consider an impartial third party to act as a mediator whenever there are staff members who can’t get past their differences.

Reach out to Pollack Peacebuilding Services today for conflict resolution services or training.

Valerie Dansereau

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