In any work environment, it’s inevitable that you will encounter conflict at some point. For some people, it can be a scary thing to deal with; but for others, it presents a great opportunity to grow and learn from the experience. Regardless of your personal views on conflict, there will come a time when you have to manage it effectively. Whether you end up in a disagreement with someone over something small or a major issue comes up between yourself and another person, managing the situation like a pro is key. Read on to discover six helpful tips for handling negativity in the workplace like a pro.
Be clear and concise when communicating with others.
Communication is key in conflict management, so it’s important to be clear and concise when speaking with the people involved. This means that you need to be aware of your tone of voice, how you’re wording your sentences, and what your general attitude is towards the situation. If you approach the conversation with a negative attitude, it’s highly unlikely that the outcome will be positive. Conversely, if you communicate with a positive and open mind, there’s a better chance that the outcome will be constructive.
Ask questions to better understand why a conflict has occurred.
Sometimes, a conflict will happen without you really knowing why. This can be really frustrating, especially if you’re not sure how to deal with it. When this happens, try asking some questions to get a better idea of why the conflict has occurred. You don’t have to ask these questions directly to the person you are in conflict with; you can also ask them about other colleagues who may have witnessed the event. For example, if you were involved in a disagreement over who should take ownership of a particular project, you could ask other members of the team what they think should happen next. This could help you to understand why the conflict arose in the first place.
Don’t take things personally, no matter how much negativity you encounter.
It can be easy to take things personally when you’re involved in a conflict, especially if you have a particularly hot-headed personality. More often than not, however, the person you are in conflict with isn’t thinking about you at all; they’re focused on the issue at hand. If a particular project has been a source of conflict between you and one of your colleagues, there’s a good chance that it has become a major source of stress for them. As a result, they may lash out at you without actually knowing why they’re doing it. Don’t take their negativity personally; instead, try to understand where it’s coming from so that you can move past it. Taking issues personally only results in the situation getting worse; but if you can maintain a level head, you may be able to resolve the situation more quickly.
Focus on the resolution instead of dwelling on the problem.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the problem itself when you’re dealing with a conflict, but you should be focusing on finding a resolution instead. What can you do to quickly and efficiently resolve the issue at hand? Doing this will help to move you on from the negativity, and also give you some valuable experience for the future. As long as you don’t let the issue drag on, you’ll have plenty of time to reflect on the experience and learn from it. It’s important to take the time to analyze what you could have done better, however, so that you can approach future situations more effectively.
Check-in with trusted colleagues for their input.
It can be helpful to speak with trusted colleagues about the situation you’re in. They may be able to provide you with some insight into how to move forward and deal with the conflict more effectively. Your colleagues may also be able to give you an idea of who to speak with about the issue so that you can try to resolve it as quickly as possible. Depending on your workplace, it may be best to speak with your manager about the situation. If you’ve tried to resolve it on your own but haven’t had any success, they may be able to help you with the situation.
Commit to learning from the experience and move forward.
In the grand scheme of things, any conflict you encounter is just a blip on the radar. With proper conflict management, it will pass relatively quickly and easily. In the meantime, don’t dwell on the issue; instead, commit to learning from it. You may have already learned a great deal from the experience, but it’s also possible that you could have done things even better. If that’s the case, use the opportunity to reflect on the situation. Be sure to keep an open mind and accept that you may have room for improvement. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. Once you’ve dealt with the situation as effectively as possible, it’s time to move forward.