While most companies like to pretend that they are one big happy family, the truth is that families fight. Feelings are hurt, emotions run high and things are said in the heat of the moment.
Office rifts are natural and usually not a big deal (if you handle them correctly). Here are just a few tips for healing any disagreements before they become a big issue.
Don’t bad mouth your colleague
When you’re fighting with a coworker the first thing you will want to do is tell all your work colleagues about it. Naturally, you’ll want them to hear your side of the story first and validate your outrage. However, getting other employees involved is generally a bad idea.
Firstly it creates a very toxic workplace and secondly, it could give you a reputation as a bit of a gossip. If you really need to vent leave the office and call a close friend or family member. Make sure you are well out of earshot.
Review your options
You can address conflict in a variety of different ways. The approach that you take will depend on your circumstances. Should you arrange a quick chat with your colleague? Do you need a mediation session with HR or should you call a company-wide meeting? The route you choose will depend on the number of people involved and the seriousness of the offence.
Workplace conflicts will grow and fester if left unaddressed. Confront the issue early on to prevent it from snowballing into a bigger fight.
However, you must not act too soon either. If you have just had a heated discussion with a colleague it’s probably a good idea to wait until you both calm down before approaching the topic again.
Try to understand
People usually disagree when they don’t understand each other. As hard as it may seem you should take some time to try and figure out your colleague’s point of view. Put yourself in their shoes. Why are they acting this way? Is there a reason behind this tension?
Listen to how they feel. When it’s their turn to talk hear them out. Remember that resolving workplace conflict isn’t about getting one person to entirely change their mind. It’s about communication and finding common ground.
Get rid of email
Face-to-face conflict is hard. It’s much easier to hide behind email but it’s also much easier to get your wires crossed that way. Your tone of voice and body language can have a huge effect on what you are saying. If you want to solve this issue as quickly and painlessly as possible then take things offline.