We spend a lot of time at work, and for most of us, it isn’t as relaxing as a weekend at home. Work stress involves a different style of management than most other types of stress.
Conflicts at work require a professional response, or your career may suffer.
Loss of income due to poor conflict management is no path to happiness. Here are some tips on handling conflict at work.
Think Before You Speak
When you feel cornered or accused at work, it’s easy to respond emotionally. Unfortunately, this will almost always make any kind of conflict worse. If you are a manager, you are expected to never respond emotionally.
You don’t want to create an environment where that kind of response is acceptable from everyone.
The best thing you can do is stay calm and listen. Try to detach yourself from your emotions and listen to the criticisms as a third party. Rather than let yourself react, start thinking the big picture and what kind of solutions may be available.
Try to diffuse any tension with helpful responses that acknowledge a perceived grievance without becoming emotional.
The Solution Matters
At the end of the day, any perceived injustice or unfairness will be compared to the solution that was offered. So rather than nitpick or getting pulled into an argument over the event that caused the problem, try to steer focus towards a solution.
If you need time to think of something, don’t be afraid to simply acknowledge the feelings of the other person and insure them that finding a solution is your top priority. Then, clear your head, think it through and present a solution when you find one.
If you’re the one who needs to address a situation that could potentially create conflict, take the time first to prepare yourself. Think about the big picture and make sure that you are choosing your battles wisely.
Think about the solution that you want from the conversation. Jot down the strongest points for your argument on a notepad so that you don’t forget them in the moment. Never make it personal and stick to the topic at hand.
It’s impossible to remove emotions entirely from interactions, but with practice and intention, you can improve how you come across to work colleagues and clients. Remaining calm and focusing on solutions will show your strength as a leader and will only serve to strengthen your career.