How to Deal With Conflict in the Workplace When You're At Your Wit's End

If you’re someone who values a peaceful work environment and you’re surrounded by tension and conflict at work, you’re probably about ready to pull your hair out. The problem with stressful situations is that they tend to snowball, especially if people try to ignore a problem. Ultimately you have to figure out how to deal with conflict in the workplace when you’re at your wit’s end whether you’re in the middle of the conflict or in a toxic environment because of the conflict of those around you.

Free Consultation for Workplace Conflict

What’s Causing the Conflict?

A work environment is often a place where people are hired from different locations and life experiences. People can have difficulty communicating for many reasons such as different work styles, different perspectives on what should be top priority, age differences or different cultural backgrounds or beliefs. When there’s poor leadership, it may not be clear who’s responsible for what, which can easily lead to misunderstandings. When people are working without sufficient resources, tension can increase and tempers can flare up.

Conflict can also happen between employees and supervisors for different reasons. Some common reasons this could happen is because of perceived lack of leadership or because the supervisor micromanages or refuses to listen to the concerns of their staff.

Have a Conversation

If you’re in conflict with a coworker or supervisor, once you have a good idea what’s causing the conflict, sit down and have a conversation with the other person. Try to find a location that’s private and where you’re not likely to attract attention from others. The last thing you want to have to deal with is interference from people who may be taking sides. Ideally, you both should be able to express your side of what’s happening without interruption or emotional outburst from the other. Both parties should listen respectfully to the other and try to brainstorm possible solutions to help resolve the problem.

If the other person isn’t willing to meet or isn’t listening to a word you say you may need to involve a supervisor or someone from your company’s human resources department. If things continue to get worse, you may need to consider outside mediation. Professionals in the field of conflict resolution can facilitate a meeting and act as an objective third party so that there’s no suspicion of favoritism.

Things to Keep in Mind

When dealing with conflict, remember that ignoring a problem is rarely the best approach. When you’re trying to work through a difficult situation, keep your focus on the problem and not on the person. Whatever is going on, it’s imperative that you keep your emotions under control.

If your work environment has become toxic and leadership isn’t taking charge of the situation, you’ll need to consider whether it’s in your best interest to keep trying to work through things yourself, or whether you’d be better off considering other opportunities. In the meantime, work on things you can control such as learning relaxation techniques

Training in How to Deal with Conflict in the Workplace

In any work environment, conflict can erupt. Those in leadership positions should expect to obtain ongoing training in leadership skills including diversity and inclusion, communication and conflict management. Employees at every level can benefit from learning how to deal with conflict in the workplace.

If training isn’t offered at your organization, consider watching videos online or reading books and articles on the topic. This type of training can be beneficial even if you’re not currently dealing with work-related conflict.

To learn more about conflict resolution training or communication skills training, reach out to Pollack Peacebuilding Systems.

Valerie Dansereau

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