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Handling Coworker Conflict

 

Rachael Powell, AgCareers.com

 

It would be unheard of to make it through a career without having coworker conflict along the way. They say that you spend the most time with those you work with, so it is only natural that situations will arise. When more than one person is involved, there will be conflict. Conflict in general is just a fact of life. Now that we’ve agreed there will be conflict, what is the best way to deal with it? Perhaps flushing out what not to do first would be best.

The Don’ts of Coworker Conflict

1. Don’t stir the pot. In other words, do anything that might add to the conflict. This includes gossiping about the issue, responding in a harsh tone, showing them who’s boss, or getting back at the individual. All these responses to conflict will certainly only escalate the issue. Not to mention your superior will be judging you on your response, so keep it professional. This point also addresses any conflict you might witness while at work. Getting others bothered over someone else’s actions is never helpful.

2. Don’t keep pushing the issue aside. In most cases it would prove beneficial to address the issue instead of pushing it aside. Instead of blowing up over a small issue, deal with the small issues one by one to avoid a larger conflict. A quick conversation with those involved, will go a long way.

The Do’s of Coworker Conflict

1. Sleep on it. I find that my immediate reaction isn’t always the best. Maybe you have more restraint than me? Take some time to think about how to best address the situation. Once you’ve developed a professional response, you can address the situation with tact.

2. Report issues as needed. No one wants to be a tattletale, but sometimes we can’t fix or stop a situation on our own. If you’ve attempted to resolve the issue in a professional manner and there has been no improvement in the situation, it may be time to speak with your supervisor. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to resolve a situation.

Finally, if you feel you are being harassed at work or are in a hostile work environment, always report this to your supervisor or human resources. Every employee should feel they can come to work in a safe, collaborative workspace.