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Handling Conflict at Work

When you’re in a workplace with people that have different personalities, expectations, and opinions, interpersonal conflict is bound to occur. Each week, employees in the United States spend almost three hours each week involved in conflict, and this can create stress, reduce productivity and negatively impact job satisfaction. 

Here are some ways to address conflict at work.

Consider your response

When you’re in a situation where differing points of view create conflict at work, look inward. Are you the kind of person who turns away from conflict or prefers to face it head on with the other person? Recognizing how you respond to conflict can help you manage what to do next. 

Also recognize how the other person approaches conflict. While you may be more comfortable leaving during a confrontation, the other person may respond differently and want to settle things right away. Even if you and your coworker need some time to decompress, it’s best to not ignore the problem altogether and instead find a resolution style that works for both parties.

Talk it out and practice active listening

The first step to resolving interpersonal conflict is talking to the other person and discovering where the disagreement stems from. Actively listen to understand their perspective, and avoid just listening to respond. Identify where you disagree and agree. You may come across some common ground.

Show empathy

According to Psychology Today, showing empathy is a helpful way to keep biases in check. When people feel compelled to be right without taking time to show empathy, relationships take a hit. 

Having the ability to empathize with the other person is a healthy response to conflict. Working to understand their feelings and actions will help you avoid conflicts in the future by building trust and respect today.

Move past the conflict

Once a resolution has been met, even if that means agreeing to disagree, don’t hold a grudge. Accept that the conflict has been resolved.

Persistent interpersonal conflict in the workplace can negatively impact your mental health. It can help to talk to someone about how to best handle your unique situation, and that’s why Valley Oaks Health offers counseling that allows you to process what you’re going through and learn how to balance the stress of disagreements at work.

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