Professional You – Dealing with workplace conflict, Part 2

Choose your professional battles wisely

In Part 1, we talked about the importance of asking questions and sticking to the facts when it comes to assessing workplace conflicts. Today, we’re wondering, how do conflicts arise?

Common sources of conflict
It can be helpful to ask yourself some simple questions to assess the source of the conflict:

  • Is someone doing something they are NOT supposed to do?
  • Is someone NOT doing something they are supposed to be doing?

These types of problems are a bit more obvious because they are slightly more “objective.” For example, if you were supposed to receive a particular set of data in order to complete a report and you didn’t get the data, it’s clear where the problem lies. In this sort of situation, being direct and factual is usually the best approach.

  • Is there a procedure, system, or approach that is not functioning optimally?
  • Is there an organizational or departmental policy with which you disagree?
  • Is there a colleague’s behavior that is disruptive?

These situations can be more challenging to address so we’ll take a closer look at each of them in future posts.

Weighing the costs
I guess another way of saying “weigh the costs” would be “choose your battles.” Perhaps in an ideal world, all conflicts and disagreements would be resolved immediately without any ill will or negative ramifications. Unfortunately, this rarely happens, and you may need to weigh which conflicts are worth addressing. For example, perhaps a client shows up five minutes late for every appointment. Depending on the situation and organizational policies, this may not warrant any action or it may require confrontation. Weigh each situation carefully.

What about you?
Is there a common source of disagreement where you work? What types of conflicts would you just walk away from and which absolutely require a confrontation?

The Professional You series offers tips and suggestions for college students transitioning to their first professional position, whether an internship or full time job.

1 comment on “Professional You – Dealing with workplace conflict, Part 2”

  1. Pingback: Professional You – Dealing with workplace conflict, Part 3

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