Drama, Drama, Drama. How to Handle Conflict at the Office

Whether you like it or not, conflict is inevitable at the workplace. Yes, criticism can be constructive and provide a launching board for brilliantly designed collaborative projects. However, conflict can be negative and create hostility, aggression, and animosity amongst workers. Generally speaking, conflict arises from two key factors: communication and emotions. And, knowing how to divert these factors into positive energy is key to reducing conflict. So here are a few tips to help settle disputes and create a conflict-free work-zone.

Clearly Outline Acceptable Behavior

It may seem obvious, but sometimes people don’t understand the difference between business and pleasure. In order to keep behaviors at an appropriate and manageable level, be professional in all aspects of your work life. If you take the lead on instilling a business-minded approach to not only your work product but also your attitude, others will follow suit.

Prevention First

Conflict resolution is one thing, but preventing conflict before it starts is another. Understand that all your coworkers are a product of their culture, so you should remain sensitive to ethnic, religious, and gender issues at all times. If it seems like a line that would be dropped by Steve Carell on “The Office,” don’t say it.

Obstacle or Opportunity?

Don’t view conflict as purely negative. Instead, see it as an opportunity to create and open dialogue with coworkers so that positive outcomes can come to fruition. Opposing sides of a dispute can often lead to a middle ground of empathy and compromise. Not to mention, when there is disagreement, there is a chance that growth and development can explode—leading to more innovative and successful work products.

So tackle conflict head on so that the office doesn’t become a space overridden with negativity and a counterproductive culture. Instead, by following some basic core concepts, many conflicts can be either prevented or resolved while also allowing you and your coworkers to create a better work environment.

Have any other tips to add to this list? Tweet @StarterNoise using #workplacewoes to let us know how you handle conflict at the office!

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