I’ll be honest, as I began writing this post, I really struggled! It became evident that a single post was not going to suffice, so I’ll be breaking it into a few parts. Why so much to write? There are so many factors to weigh when it comes to dealing with workplace conflict. Also, conflict, whether it’s with a co-worker, a supervisor, or a customer, is inevitable. Dealing with conflicts, or potential conflicts, can be very challenging. Further, there are differing degrees of severity – some situations might be better described as disagreements or even annoyances, while others can become full-blown battles. I do believe, however, that many workplace conflicts can be dealt with in a manner that avoids escalation.
If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you are probably sensing a theme – asking questions is generally a good rule of thumb! When you are new to a position, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with your company’s or department’s policies for dealing with disputes, conflicts, disagreements, etc. These can differ from place to place, and can depend on the parties involved. For example, policies for how to deal with customer complaints will likely differ from how to deal with a disagreement with a co-worker. So, be sure you are well versed with your whatever policies may be in place. If no policy exists, speak with your supervisor before any conflicts arise to find out how she prefers to deal with them.