5 Ways To Win At Workplace Conflict

Do you find yourself at the heart of a terrible workplace conflict? Is it hard to make it through the day without the stress of this taking over? Are you the type of person who wants to work through conflict without it overtaking you? Nobody likes conflict, and it can be particularly challenging when you encounter it in the workplace.

5 ways to win at workplace conflict

It’s important to stay ahead of it, and also to work through it when it happens to you. So how do you ensure that disagreements or difficult personalities don’t make your work life unbearable? It’s all about winning at workplace conflicts, and you can do it if you know how to handle them.

The Way You Work Through It Can Help You In The Long Run

Nobody wants to have an issue with a coworker or be part of a stressful environment. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control and therefore we have to find a way to solve them. It may be that you’re working with a particularly difficult personality, that you are part of a very stressful culture, or that you simply don’t see eye to eye on important matters. No matter what the reason for the workplace conflict, you want to be absolutely certain that it doesn’t get the best of you.

This is about saving your reputation, but also showing that you can work through conflict. The more level headed that you can remain the better. Even though you may be upset by the conflict, save your venting session for home. You want to be professional, calm, and work through the conflict without emotions getting the best of you.

This will help you to solve the problem, and it may also bring forth the actual cause of the conflict as well. The way that you work through the most stressful situations can show your character and could actually be good for your career. So while conflict is never a desirable thing, especially in the workplace, if you can calmly deal with it in the right way it may serve you well. It’s all about making the best out of a negative situation—and when you can learn how to do that it lessens the conflict but actually improves your reputation and people skills.

It May Not Be As Horrible As You Think

Sometimes we make things bigger than they really are in our minds. Sometimes we allow the conflict to take over or cause more stress than it needs to. It may be as simple as talking to the person that you have the conflict with. If things escalate then you certainly want to take the right steps to manage things—but oftentimes workplace conflict may be dealt with in a productive and calm conversation.

Never Let Your Temper Get The Better Of You

Getting mad, upset, or emotional at all is not going to do anything but make you look bad. Though you may feel frustrated with the conflict or the source of it, you don’t want this to show in the workplace. Talk about it at home and get your frustration out there. When you come to work though you want to keep a calm demeanor and a level head. This will not only help you to successfully work through the conflict, but it will also help you to look good in the process. If the person you have the conflict with gets emotional then let them, but the calmer that you remain the more that it works to your advantage.

Everyone Wants Their Voice To Be Heard

Basically you want to show empathy, even if it takes everything in you. Sometimes it may be a simple misunderstanding. It may be that they just want to be heard or want you to understand their point of view. You may not necessarily agree with it, but it goes a long way to let them talk and get things off of their chest. It may be nothing more than allowing them to vent that makes all the difference in the world, and the conflict may be over with that one small gesture.

Always Work At Your People Skills And Relationship Building

Let’s be honest here—there are going to be some people that you like and some that you don’t. It’s human nature to click with some people and be turned off by others. However the way in which you deal with even the toughest personality builds character. Be conscious of building relationships as this can truly help you when conflict strikes.

Try to insert humor or observations into the scenario, for sometimes you can get a lot further with a positive attitude. If you work at your people skills and make this a priority then if conflict strikes, you are much more likely to diffuse it faster because you’ve taken the time to create this network to support you. Again you may not always see eye to eye or like everyone, but knowing how to deal with all types of personalities makes you successful. Conflicts won’t happen as often, and when they do you can work through them much more effectively.

Don’t Let Things Get Out Of Hand

There may come a time when you can’t manage the workplace conflict on your own. Though nobody wants things to escalate to this point, it happens more than you might realize. If you find that you are getting nowhere or if the conflict is becoming too consuming, then you may need to involve a third party. This should be an objective source that can help you to work through the issues. An arbitrator can be helpful in significant issues, but it may not necessarily come to that. Talk to HR or an office manager if you find that you need some extra help. Hopefully you don’t find yourself at this point with things, but know that if you are constantly hitting a brick wall that a third party can lessen the conflict and help you to both work through it in a productive way.

Though workplace conflicts are never a positive thing, they happen to the best of us. Do your best to stay calm, work through them with a positive attitude, and try to show empathy. You may not always agree with everyone, but working through issues that come up help your reputation and your problem solving skills too.

Explore our guide on effective issue escalation strategies for better workplace outcomes.

Dan Sawyer

Founding editor and head writer of ExpertEmployee.com. Dan is a job interview and career expert, with more than 20 years of experience in senior roles at high tech leaders Space Exploration Technologies and Samsung Austin Semiconductor.

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