How to navigate workplace conflicts

Tact and diplomacy are key.

Harper's Bazaar India

Most work place conflicts take place due to lack of communication, high-stress levels, and too many heads being involved. However, these issues need to be resolved professionally and with tact. It's important to effectively communicate and understand each other, and  

Here's how you can resolve workplace conflicts respectfully. 

Weigh the situation

Depending on the gravity of the situation, involve only limited people in the issue. If the problem is between you and your colleague, it’s best it stays between the two of you. If the issue involves a difference in perspective regarding a certain task, it is advisable to let other team members in on the matter. And, if the problem is grave, i.e, if there is discrimination or harassment, the company's management and human resources department needs to be involved at the very earliest.

Don’t delay when it comes to addressing the problem

What may seem like a minor problem, has a good chance of snowballing. The moment you realise you’ve an issue with a co-worker, talk things out with them. Do it in-person to communicate effectively, as an email may seem tempting but is less likely to lead to a resolution. 

Talk calmly

People tend to get emotionally charged during a fight, but you should do your best to remain calm. It will not only help you maintain your reputation, but will also prevent the person from being defensive or aggressive. Be direct as it allows both parties to express themselves openly and improve the chances of resolving the situation. 

Listen to them

There is a stark difference between listening and hearing. Listening to them intently will make you come across as receptive, and might change the way they talk to you. Chances are, you’ll get to know about their perspective, which is extremely crucial to reach a middle ground. It's essential that both of you leave the meeting feeling like you can cooperate for the foreseeable future.

Drawing boundaries

Your boundaries will largely determine the nature of conflicts you will have. It’ll also help you react to a situation better as you’ll know if it’s worth the trouble or not.  

Keep the larger picture in sight 

When you resolve a conflict, it's important to know and remember that the larger goal will always be the organisation's success. It’s a great way to take down the big egos and humble the individuals. That said, you should appreciate and recognise your colleague's effort and encourage them to do better