Follow This Advice for Conflict at Work

No matter how congenial your co-workers are, from time to time you’re going to get into an argument. It doesn’t have to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. Even a simple disagreement can spark animosity and resentment. Here’s how to tamp down the conflict at work:

  • Question yourself first. Before responding to a conflict, think through your own preconceived assumptions. Are you sure you have all the facts? Double-check your opinions to ensure you’re working on the right problem.
  • Explore your motives. Are you really concentrating on the good of the organization, or do you just want to win the argument? Don’t let personal feelings about other people lead you into a pointless conflict that won’t do either of you any good.
  • Set the right example. People will find it easier to remain calm and focused if you do the same. Pay attention to the tone and volume of your voice, and keep your discussion on a professional level—no name-calling or negative insinuations.
  • Keep an open mind. Don’t jump to conclusions about what the other person wants. Do your best to understand his or her position so you can respond accurately and helpfully. Ask questions instead of making assertions. The answers can help you see what the disagreement is really all about.
  • Focus on the goal. Remember that you both want what’s good for your organization. Reframe your discussion so that it’s centered on business objectives, not personalities.

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