You may not consider your coworkers to be close friends or confidants, and yet you tend to spend more time with them throughout the week than with your own family. This means arguments and disagreements are bound to come up, especially with the added pressure of work. Dealing with disagreements in the workplace is not anyone’s cup of tea. You want to go into the office, do your work, and keep things moving smoothly. Yet when these disagreements arise, it’s important to address them before they become bigger and more impactful.
Dealing with Disagreements in the Workplace
There are different types of conflict in the workplace. Whether a disagreement breaks out between managers, a manager and an employee, or teammates striving toward the same goal, it’s important to reduce whatever negative impacts it may have on the company and those who make it successful. Dealing with disagreements in the workplace rather than ignoring them is a good place to start.
Take Action Sooner Rather Than Later
Confronting conflict might feel like a risky move. It can pull you into drama you’re not interested in and even make you look guilty by association. However, ignoring conflict is where the real risks lie and taking action in resolving conflict with a coworker can actually leave you looking favorable by management. Stretch your leadership skills and lean into the discomfort, as leaving disputes unresolved can lead to long-term tension and an eventual blow-up.
Dealing with disagreements in the workplace might be less about you than you think. Avoid personalizing the root of the argument, as anger tends to reflect more on its source than its target. While people may say hurtful things when pressured and upset, personalizing it and engaging back in personal attacks will only escalate the conflict, demonstrate a lack of professionalism, and make it hard to rebuild the relationship once all is said and done. Take a step back and try to see things objectively.
Do you really want to know how to resolve disputes between employees? Stay calm. Emotions will arise, there’s no doubt. But what you do with those emotions may make or break the situation. Manage what comes up effectively and express yourself in a manner that doesn’t add fuel to the fire. Tend to your emotions when you’re able to, but don’t let them make your decisions on your behalf.
When conflict arises, be sensitive to those involved. This means avoiding water cooler talk where you share juicy insights with co-workers beyond the fold of the conflict. This can create a negative work environment and leave people feeling judged and isolated, which is not conducive to a healthy workplace.
Search for Common Ground
When dealing with disagreements in the workplace, focus on what you have in common. Whether it’s a skill set, interest, personality quirk, or overall goal, find what’s shared between conflicting parties and build from there. Allow this conflict to be the birthplace of collaboration instead.
Workplace conflict resolution is not everyone’s strong suit so if you’re struggling to make effective progress amongst your peers or team, get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today for the professional support you need.