How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace | Pollack Peacebuilding

A growing number of people are feeling burned out or just simply exhausted by a collection of personal and community challenges that can dampen internal resources and an ability to effectively communicate. Having an accumulation of vulnerabilities, or things more likely to make us react defensively, can act as kindling for dispute. Self-care is an important component in knowing how to handle conflict in the workplace because if your most basic needs aren’t being met, navigating professional conflict will feel impossible.

How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace

When we’re experiencing burn out, our energy may dip and we may find ourselves withdrawing from our day-to-day responsibilities. Conversely, we may actually become more irritable and angry with a heightened sense of protective energy. Neither of these energies or emotional states are conducive to an effective work environment, so tending to burn out is one way of dealing with conflict in the workplace.

Move Your Body

Moving your body can do wonders for mood and energy. This can include anything from taking a daily walk around the block to using short bursts of cardio to offset some anxious or angry feelings. Real-life examples of workplace conflict often start with some kind of irritability that becomes difficult to manage. Among common conflict prevention strategies, you’ll find advice about strengthening your insight around your internal experiences. Moving our bodies can help us move stuck energy and make us more mindful of what we’re holding onto. For instance, moving your body may clue you in to how sweaty your hands get when you’re stressed, how much your stomach holds all of your anxiety, how your shoulders are often high up in your ears, or how you hold your breath when you’re angry. This insight can help soften some of the tension that lives in your body so you can make space for new thoughts and feelings.

Prioritize Your Needs

Many employees, especially those experiencing burnout, act from the belief that their needs come secondary to their responsibilities. When stress compounds in these areas, vulnerabilities spike and conflict, as well as other undesired effects, can come easily. As the saying goes, you can’t fill from an empty cup. If you’re feeling ill, take the day off. If you need to make a doctor’s appointment, take care of it. If your body is needing a day at the beach, allow yourself that.

Ask for Help

If you feel like the world is on your shoulders, ask yourself why you have to carry it alone. Ask for help when you need it so things don’t escalate to a point that will negatively impact others anyway. Asking for help is always one of the most helpful employee conflict resolution strategies and you should be able to find support either at work, at home, or elsewhere through services that can provide you the right setting to process and problem solve.

Take Your PTO

If your company culture has you feeling guilty about taking some self-care time off, you’re not alone. But when learning how to handle conflict in the workplace, you have to also learn about human limits, which is something we all have. Employees who are past their limits not only become ineffective at their job, but they also become susceptible to interpersonal ruptures. Risking it is not worth it when you can take some preventative measures, like slowing down, getting some space, and shifting your perspective a bit.

When learning how to handle conflict in the workplace, it’s important to remember what makes humans vulnerable and therefore more likely to react. Gain more insight into the needs of your personnel with 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.

Stressed woman at computer symbolizing how to handle conflict when burned out

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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