Offices can be stressful environments and personal conflicts between co-workers are extremely disruptive, making it impossible to get anything done. Naturally, when you gather a group of people together, there are bound to be disagreements, misunderstandings and differing points of view. The key is learning how to handle these conflicts head-on and move past them in order to work effectively as a team.
Figure it out–Get to the root cause of your disagreement. Are you clashing on ideas for a project? Are your work styles just different? If you can understand the conflict, it can be nipped in the bud before it grows into a larger issue.
Reach out–If somebody has done something to annoy you, take them aside and discuss the situation. Ensure to remain professional and polite. There is probably a good reason behind your colleague’s actions and a potential conflict can evaporate right there. Never assume that a team member has intentionally done something just to get under your skin.
Listen – Many misunderstandings lead to disagreements because colleagues do not listen to one another! Keep your ears (and mind) open to what your co-worker is saying before reacting with preconceived ideas.
Mediator – When differences get to the point where even a simple conversation becomes impossible; it is time to organize a meeting with a third person. Most likely, this would be your manager, but it can also be someone on your team who you both trust will have an unbiased opinion.
Call a truce – Sometimes agreeing to disagree is the best way to move forward. You don’t have to be the best of friends – you just need to be able to work together.
Work performance – The best strategy when dealing with a conflict is to just focus on your work and let it speak for itself. Remove yourself from office politics and gossip. Ultimately, what matters to your organization is your performance.
An independent consulting agency that focuses on employee, team and organizational development, Sandra Summerhayes & Associates designs and delivers training sessions and seminars for various organizations throughout Ontario. For more information, log onto www.sandrasummerhayes.com.