No one likes conflict in the workplace. Your job shouldn’t be a place you dread going to, and especially not over a conflict with a coworker or manager. However, it can be hard to know how to defuse workplace conflict without making matters worse. Things are already tense and awkward. How do you broach the topic?
Well, there are no surefire ways to fix these situations. However, we have a few tips that might help you to carefully alleviate the situation. Remember: you should never be afraid to go to your HR department over workplace conflict.
Talk to Them Frankly
If you think things are tense between yourself and a coworker over a simple misunderstanding, it might help to just speak with them plainly. If things have gotten a bit tense, talk to them earnestly, and explain what you understood of the situation. It’s okay to apologize, even if they misunderstood you and you meant no offense. Getting things back to normal and getting past any tension is well worth swallowing one’s own pride.
If things are more tense than just a simple misunderstanding, however, this might not be the best strategy. Some people react negatively when confronted directly, even if you broach the topic in a gentle way. In this case, try another approach.
Talk to Your Boss
In the event that things have gotten tense and you don’t think talking to the person will help, talk to your boss. They’re likely trained in ways to defuse conflict. They’ll be able to help you figure out a good way to handle the situation without hurting any feelings.
Remember: it’s important to be honest. Even if you were a jerk, you need to speak plainly with your boss and get things back on a good, level footing.
Sometimes, even your boss might not be able to help get things sorted out. In this event, you’ll need to just go to HR with the issue. That’s what they’re here for, so don’t feel bad about using this function of the department.
Going to HR
If the conflict has gotten rather tense, sometimes you need to just take things up to HR. The people working in your HR department are trained for this exact scenario. Don’t feel bad about it: they’re here to help with workplace conflict, after all.
Just speak plainly with HR and don’t try to hide things from them. Remember, if you were in the wrong, the truth will come out eventually. And, if you weren’t, then there’s nothing to worry about when you take things to HR!