Dealing with Workplace Conflict

Jun 01, 2016
We’ve all faced difficult work situations, but they don’t have to crumble your work environment. Here are some tips for handling confrontation in the workplace.

Click to enlarge A young woman resolving a workplace conflict by having an open and civil conversation.

When CPP Inc. – publishers of the Myers-Briggs Assessment and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument – commissioned a study on workplace confrontation, they found that the average worker spends 2.8 hours dealing with workplace conflicts.

That’s nearly 140 hours per year. In places where employees have been trained in conflict resolution, 81% have had these experiences lead to positive outcomes with better understandings of their coworkers.

Some Conflict Options to Consider

  • Don’t Confront: In many cases it’s best to walk away and ignore it, especially if you’re in a group setting. Weigh whether or not the problem is really as bad as it seems. Take the time to cool off and think about it.
  • Confront with Caution: If you know the talker and can be fairly certain they won’t blow up, bring up the remark later, away from a group setting.
  • Speak from the “I”: If you’re offended and feel a strong need to respond, don’t make the speaker feel attacked. “I” statements help the person understand that this is how you feel, and no put them on the spot.
  • Help Out: If you see someone being harassed, make sure they’re okay and see if you can support them or help them decide what to do next. 70% of employees believe conflict resolution is a group effort.
  • Apologize if necessary: Don’t be afraid to say sorry. Sometimes all anybody wants is a simple apology.
  • Intervene early: It’s easier to solve a small issue than a big problem. While it may be tempting to put off confronting those involved to see if the issue works itself out, don’t let the problem drag on.

By following these best practices you will be able to provide a more respectful and happier workplace for everyone. We want our employees to be happy and safe in their environments! Work can only go smoothly if everyone works together.

Sources

Workplace Conflict, CPP Global Human Capital Report. http://img.en25.com/Web/CPP/Conflict_report.pdf

Forbes.com How To Manage Conflict, http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2015/06/04/how-to-manage-conflict/

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