Dealing with difficult people at work is not a new or rare occurrence. Different personalities don’t always mesh well together, and when you add on work stress, you may find that there are particular coworkers you simply cannot collaborate with. This tension can be a hotbed for conflict, so it may be worth addressing before things escalate unexpectedly. Avoiding conflict in the workplace is the most time and cost-effective way to handle clashing personas, but you may need some help handling those difficult people in particular.
Avoiding Conflict in the Workplace
You don’t go to work for the drama of it — unless you do, in which case, you might be the reason behind someone needing this guide. If you’re looking to get the most out of your time at work by reducing or avoiding conflict in the workplace, here are some tips on managing challenging relationships.
Focus on Team Building
Conflict between employees happens from time to time. Team building efforts where colleagues are able to get to know each other beyond their work responsibilities can help increase the amount of empathy employed during difficult conversations.
Address Your Own Communication Skills
When we meet that difficult colleague, we can be quick to blame them for every rupture that occurs. But it’s important to remain self-reflective when avoiding conflict in the workplace because no one is exempt from engaging in behaviors that can spark a dispute. Learn how to speak effectively, assert your needs without being passive or aggressive, be clear about expectations so no one will be stressed or surprised later, and brush up on your active listening skills so you can ensure you’re not missing important feedback from others. Effective communication can help prevent frustrations and feelings of disrespect that can often lead to conflict, so it’s a powerful tool to keep in your pocket.
Softly Address Disagreements When They Arise
It may feel like the best thing to do is ignore any tension that arises between coworkers. In some cases, that may be true. Typically, however, not addressing obvious tension creates an elephant-in-the-room type of awkwardness that can encourage eventual conflict rather than prevent it. Be careful not to blame the other person or call out their behaviors, per se, but perhaps identify where you both may be missing each other so that you can collaborate on a plan to reconnect.
Improve Your Conflict Resolution Skills
Learning to avoid conflict doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also know how to solve conflict in the workplace. Be prepared for anything by taking a training or working with a conflict resolution professional who can give you the skills to manage conflict when it arises, which may decrease your anxiety about the potential of it in the first place. This can help reduce tension between you and the colleague that you fear having an issue with. Productive conflict engagement can help prevent future conflicts.
If avoiding conflict in the workplace feels like an impossible task to complete alone, reach out for professional support. The neutral and experienced experts at PPS can provide skills and insights to improve tense situations in the workplace. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your workplace.