Conflict Management in the Workplace: 4 Strategies

photo of some people in the office during a meeting

Finding a career that’s rewarding (professionally and financially) is an important milestone that signals the successful transition into adulthood. You’re finally able to support yourself, become more independent and begin a new chapter of your life.

You might be surprised to learn that one of the most important factors influencing your success in the workplace is how you relate with your coworkers. In virtually every line of work, employees need to be able to collaborate and work together to get the job done. And, when disagreements and conflicts do arise, it’s critical to work through those situations in a productive way. This can help you avoid turning to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with unresolved stress and resentment.

4 Strategies for Dealing with Conflict at Work

(1) Understand when to alert management.

While you can handle many conflicts directly, it is important to note that serious workplace issues (like harassment based on age, gender, race) should be addressed by human resources. When in doubt, ask your manager.

(2) Be honest and open with the person.

If a coworker does something that irritates or offends you (like interrupting you repeatedly during meetings), complaining to other coworkers won’t solve the problem at hand. Have the courage to speak with the person directly and privately – and calmly talk about what happened. Chances are, they may not even be aware of their behavior and how it is affecting you.

(3) Listen carefully.

After you’ve had a chance to share your thoughts, give them the same professional courtesy and be open to their response. Try to really understand their point of view.

(4) Stay positive.

Keep an open mind. Don’t go into the discussion thinking that the other person intentionally tried to put you down or make you frustrated. You’re not a mind-reader so don’t jump to conclusions.

Learning conflict management skills for the workplace is a valuable skill to develop. By addressing issues early, and in a healthy manner, you can help protect your sobriety and create a more open and honest dialogue with your coworkers.

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