Rise Above Petty Conflicts at Work!

Despite your best efforts, you’ve gotten yourself into a conflict at work.  Egos are bruised and tempers are flared.  What do you do?  Do you commence your campaign to prove to your co-workers that you are, in fact, right?  Or do you just lie down and let people walk all over you?  The answer is…neither.  The best approach is to rise above it and move on.  That is not to say that you shouldn’t defend your work or your point of view, but when it comes to those squabbles with your co-workers, (the ones where you pull your friends aside and gossip about how unreasonable the other party is being, or where you ignore each other when you meet in the lunch room), it is better not to engage.  Here’s why:

There are no winners.  What are your career goals in your current position?  Do you want to move up in the organization?  Are you trying to show your manager that you’re ready for more responsibility?  Will fighting with your co-workers help you achieve your goals?

It is a distraction.  A lot of time can pass while you are stewing and complaining about the latest slight by your co-worker.  You have a job to do and the time that you waste in this conflict would be better spent proving that you are a strong performer.

It makes you look bad.  It is hard to look professional when you are immersed in an interpersonal conflict.  It can make you look petty and it’s an easy way to make enemies.  If you avoid these conflicts, you can keep people focused on your contribution to the team.

It causes you stress.  Conflicts with your co-workers can be very stressful.  Many people get upset and spend their home hours re-hashing and complaining about the conflict.  Sometimes it can even interfere with your sleep.  Simply put- it’s just not worth it.

Working with people is always difficult.  You get thrown together with people who you didn’t choose, and everyone has their own personality and style of working.  When you add in the extra pressure that exists in most jobs in today’s economy, people become so tightly wound that it’s not surprising when they snap.  Just remember that this is all work stuff and you shouldn’t take it too personally.  You can’t control how other people behave, but you can control your reaction to it.  Keep cool, stay professional and you’ll be fine.

(Written by Karen Bivand)

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