5 Important Questions to Consider When Handling Confrontation at Work | Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

January 30, 2021by Vanessa Rose0

Handling confrontation at work can be difficult. Imagine this: You’re facing an issue with a colleague at work and confronting it feels like the only path to positive change. Confronting work issues directly is the most effective way to manage conflict. However, not all conflict is created equally. Before handling confrontation at work to address the issues at hand, ask yourself if you’re willing to do these things first.

Handling Confrontation at Work

When managing conflict between employees, be sure to go slow and remain calm. You don’t want to head into the situation burning red or you’ll be ineffective and will most likely escalate the existing issues. Instead, before you make your move, ask yourself if you’re willing to…

Handle This On Your Own?

Addressing an issue with a colleague is best done one-on-one unless you’ve had a bad experience doing that with this person before. Before handling confrontation at work, ask yourself if you feel prepared to address this with your colleague directly and not involve your boss. While your boss can be a helpful mediator should things escalate, generally speaking you may want to keep things between you and your co-worker to prevent your boss’ needs from overshadowing your own.

Give and Receive Vulnerability and Feedback?

One of the reasons some people have an aversion to confrontation is that they know it won’t remain one-sided, even if it started out that way. In other words, you will have to own your part in the conflict and be met with feedback from the other person’s perspective on how you contributed. Be open to that because defensiveness on either side will just lead to escalation. Strengthening your communication skills is one of the best ways to resolve conflict at work.

See Your Colleague as Good?

There’s a difference between being right and being good. Do you believe that your colleague is a good person who is reachable and capable of handling confrontation at work with you? The reason this can be important to answer before heading into conflict is because the conflict may not actually be worth it. If your coworker is wired to generate the problems you’re facing, it might be up to you to manage that by addressing your own reactions to them or perhaps relocating roles altogether. If you believe your colleague cannot be reached, confronting them may only have the opposite impact.

Get Outside Advice?

Whether discussing this over with a trusted friend, a colleague in another department, or professionals offering conflict resolution training, getting an outside perspective can be invaluable. Obviously depending on your particular outlet of choice, you will have different insight available to you, but professionals in conflict resolution can go beyond just offering an objective perspective to offering you necessary skills required to navigate this issue with great efficacy. Arming yourself with the right skills is ultimately the best way to handle conflict at work, present and future.

To Let Go if Not Worthwhile?

Emotions may be high in the moment, and you never want to confront anyone while they are. So when you can wiggle your feelings down to a less intense level, ask yourself if this confrontation is really worth it. Does this impact your success at work? Does it affect your immediate success? Perhaps you’re irritated and your emotions want you to act but once the dust settles, you may realize this isn’t actually the enduring problem you once thought it to be.

Handling confrontation at work is challenging. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a licensed psychotherapist and writer living in Los Angeles. When not on a mission for inner peace and conflict resolution, she enjoys making art, visiting the beach, and taking dog portraits. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious and archetypal influences on how we eat, express, and relate.

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