Tips for Handling Conflict at Work

Tomorrow is election day here in the USA.  This year, many of the campaigns have been very contentious.  Many people have been calling for more civility in politics.  Many others have been calling for more civility in daily life.  It seems that we don’t handle conflict and disagreements very well these days.  The same problem often comes up at work.

I saw an article by Kathleen Winsor-Games in yesterday’s Denver Post that provided some great tips on how to manage workplace conflict.  I like these ideas, so I’m posting them here with some minor edits by me….

Tips for Handling Conflict at Work

  • Stay calm and detach from emotional reactions.
  • As yourself what part you play in the conflict.
  • If possible, calm down by waiting to address issues after taking a break.
  • Give up on being right. Focus on win/win solutions.
  • Be open to creative solutions.
  • Address behavior without attacking the other person.
  • Whenever possible, establish agreement on next steps.
  • Seek out coworkers and internal resources that can provide a fair framework for resolution.
  • Realize that you are unlikely to convince someone else to change his or her beliefs. But you can still work together to resolve your conflict.

Great advice – but easier said than done.

However, if you keep these ideas in mind when you’re dealing with conflict, you’ll be able to lessen the negative impact of workplace conflicts.


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  1. Oliver deGeorge says:

    There will always be conflict in the workplace or any other place when several people are together, but what really needs to be addressed is the constant amount of bullying and intimidation that is happening in the workplace. What makes this even worse- usually senior administration backs the bully. This leaves the target (the employee) no place to go except to quit.

  2. Oliver:
    I am against bullying in the workplace — or any place.
    However, I think your statement, “usually senior administration backs the bully” to be a gross generalization.
    It may be true in some instances.
    But is happens infrequently in the organizations with whom I have worked.

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