Conflict is often hard to manage at work because you spend a lot of time with co-workers and when there is unresolved conflict, things can be awkward or difficult.
Generally it doesn’t just go away, normally there needs to be a conversation to resolve the issues. This means you have to sit down and talk about it in a professional way or, at the very least, mention something to the other person.
Don’t wait. If you’re offended, upset or unsettled by someone or something, address it before it gets bigger or let it go and move on.
How to address the issue or conflict
- Choose a time and place that will be uninterrupted
- Agree to conversation rules
- That the conversation will be focused on ‘how to best work together in future’ since both people need to work together constructively.
- That the aim of the meeting is to not only address the problems, but find solutions and compromises (or perhaps agree to disagree).
- That you will remain professional, use appropriate language (i.e. no name-calling) and ensure your emotions are self-managed.
- That either party can request a break at any time and leave the area. This is particularly useful if either person is getting upset, angry or frustrated. Sometimes it is good to take a break to think about how to word a calm and appropriate response rather than an emotion-filled automatic response. Some breaks could be as short as a minute or two, some could be longer. During a break a person can make a phone call, seek advice or get support.
Tips for dealing with conflict
- Talk about the conflict and how to resolve it either with the person concerned or with your employer or manager.
- Tell the other person how it makes you feel by using “I” statements rather than “you” statements.
- Try not to take work disagreements home, especially if you are working and living in shared accommodation.
- Don’t let conflict fester or it could ruin your relationship with the other person.
- Don’t leave it too long to talk as it will just get harder to resolve.
- Don’t be afraid to seek outside advice e.g. from a mentor or someone you trust.
Keep in mind that dealing with conflict or not dealing with conflict, can cause stress and make you unwell. For keeping yourself well tips, visit our wellness page.