“FIGHT!” Learning the Dance Steps of Workplace Conflict

No matter how much you try to avoid it, at some point you will find yourself in a workplace conflict. If you are unprepared and handle the conflict poorly, it could cost you professional relationships and even your job. If you handle it well, it could be viewed as an example of your strong leadership and communication skills. Learning how to effectively handle workplace conflicts is well worth your time.

Rule #1: Don’t let the conflict get personal. Keep the conflict focused on the challenges of the position and the organization. Don’t attack anybody personally and refrain from getting emotional.

Rule #2: Don’t try to get other people on your side. This behaviour is unprofessional and can make a conflict more complicated and difficult to resolve. Keep the conflict limited to those who are directly involved.

Rule #3: Focus on maintaining the relationship. Even when conflicts are handled professionally, they can still cause strain on a relationship. Minimize this by demonstrating in your actions and communication that preserving the relationship is important to you.

Rule #4: Know when it is time to escalate. You should escalate conflict situations as a last resort. Only escalate the situation if you have done everything in your power to solve the conflict and the conflict is causing harm to the organization. When escalating the conflict, be as transparent as possible. Let the other party know that you are planning to escalate and invite them to be a part of the process.

Workplace conflicts can be challenging and emotionally draining, but since many people do not know how to handle them, it is an opportunity for you to distinguish yourself.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo from: anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


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