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Overcoming Conflict in the Workplace

13th September 2018

Overcoming Conflict in the Workplace

You don’t always get to choose who you work with. As such, conflict can sometimes arise at work.

After all, everyone has their own ideas, opinions and ways of doing things, so it can be tricky when these are challenged.

But, disagreement is just part of life. If everyone were the same, there would be no room for innovation!

Yet, finding yourself involved in a workplace conflict still puts you in a very difficult position. After all, any unprofessional behaviour could land you in trouble or even cost you your job.

Therefore, overcoming conflict in the workplace is an art that we must all learn to master. To help you stay sane in a challenging work environment, CV-Library has put together a step-by-step guide to tackling these issues.

Discuss the problem professionally

Firstly, set some time aside to speak to the other person rationally. We’re only human and it can be frustrating when others don’t see our point of view, particularly if they’re being aggressive in their approach.

Ensure you remain calm and professional throughout the conversation; otherwise the problem could escalate and become worse. What’s more, you need to avoid assigning blame or acting on impulse. Even if you’re right, if you behave irrationally this could reflect badly on you.

Consider both points of view

Again, we don’t always like to hear that we’re wrong or that our approach might not necessarily be the best one. But it’s important to remain objective.

Look at the problem from a professional perspective and listen to what the other person has to say. Try to listen to both sides of the argument and weight these up.

Instead of telling them what they should and shouldn’t do, calmly put your side of the argument across, before listening carefully to theirs. Ultimately, you need to do what’s in the best interests of the business. 

Try to come to an amicable conclusion

Throughout your conversation, try to focus on any points of agreement that you may have. You can then try to build out from these and come to an amicable solution.

Sometimes this may mean that you’ll have to compromise. While you might not enjoy doing this, it could be necessary to help the situation move along and get back to business as usual.

What’s more, resolving the issue this way will ensure that you end every working day feeling happy.

Seek help from an outside party

If you’re struggling to resolve the problem through strategic and rational conversation, it could be time to seek guidance. Your first port of call might be your manager or a senior member of staff.

If the problem continues, it might be time to get HR involved. Again, be sure to behave professionally and allow both sides of the conflict to share their story with the new third party. Bickering over one another won’t solve anything.

Develop a plan moving forward

Once you’ve come to an agreement on how to resolve the problem, you need to put a plan in place to do so. You also need to put measures in place to ensure this type of conflict doesn’t happen again.

Depending on whether the conflict was with a co-worker or customer, this will mean different things. Perhaps extra support, regular catch-ups or additional training could help.  

Apologise for any wrong doing

To quote Elton John, sorry seems to be the hardest word. Sometimes you might begrudge having to apologise, especially when you’re convinced you were right. But you must apologise for any wrong doings or unfair exchanges that you made during the conflict.

It’s the only way to wipe the slate clean and continue moving forward. Dwelling on the problem could only lead to further altercations in the future.

In summary

Conflict at work can be hard to avoid. After all, it’s almost impossible to get along with everyone. But should you find yourself amidst a conflict with a co-worker or customer, you need to know how to handle the situation professionally, to avoid things getting worse.

Follow our advice and you’ll be able to make your case and overcome any workplace conflict like a pro!


This blog was written for Red Berry Recruitment by Tash Larkin from CV Library.





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