How to manage conflict in the office.


Conflict in the workplace isn’t unusual. However, it can get out of hand, it can make meetings and conversations awkward, it can lead to anxiety and irrational thoughts. In extreme events, conflict can lead to aggression or even physical or verbal abuse and sometimes if they are in a higher position in the workplace, you could end up losing your job. If you don’t lose your job then work could be very difficult on your mental health, especially anxiety and work productivity may worsen as your mind is elsewhere.

There are multiple ways you can rise above and remove the conflict, understandably there is always people where your personalities just don’t get on. However, you should be focusing on the behaviour and events of the conflict, not the other person’s personality, especially not in work.

When focusing on the events and behaviour in the situation instead of making it about the other person’s personality you should say “when this happened” instead of “when you did this”. You should also avoid generalizing and name specific events that have happened, back up what your saying with facts.

In an attempt to overcome the conflict, if you arrange a time to have a mature conversation, choose a time and location where your not going to be interrupted, give the other person your full attention and listen very carefully before retaliating, rephrase their sentences in your head and ask questions so you can fully gage what they are trying to say.

Often arguments and disputes are not just one sided, so listening can often bring clarity to what is irritating them about you, and don’t immediately take offence, keep calm and process what they are saying, often you will realise that they are right.

After having a conversation and working out all your agreements and disagreements, the conflict can either dissolve or get much worse.

Firstly, the majority of the disagreements could have been resolved and smoothed over, in that case, stick to your plan and maintain the “let’s-work-out-a-solution” attitude. Focus on the future and plan meetings to look at the progress you have made. Attempt to avoid being patronising and condescending and attempt to build on your success by complimenting each others achievements and look for opportunities to point out progress.

On the other hand, if things don’t get any better or the other person is in a position where you can’t negotiate with them, contact your HR Team. Human resource professionals are very good at remaining transparent and listening to the dispute from both sides. They will often help you come up with your own solutions, however if your seeking advice on more serious disputes, whilst still using your HR department, you could contact solicitors or employee law firms such as Manchester solicitors or some dispute resolution lawyers.

When speaking to the HR department, solicitors or lawyers you should always provide facts and dates, enter with an open mind and make sure you provide both sides of the story so they can accurately gage the situation and provide the best advice possible. Especially if the situation gets to the point where you could possibly lose your job or you feel you are being attacked, you really need to contact some kind of professional.

Always remember to keep your cool and aim to approach all the situations calmly and professionally. However don’t ignore what is happening or don’t ignore conflict, it can often manifest and get so much worse. Don’t act irrationally as it could result in losing your job.