feature img

8 tips for handling conflict with a co-worker

Cubo writersOct 11, 2022

Learning to handle conflict with a coworker can increase your workforce productivity. The lighter workload will help make your workplace a more enjoyable environment. Proper communication between you and your coworkers can directly impact your professional accomplishments regardless of the defined roles within a team.

Conflict resolution is a practical talent, but it demands patience and examination. Therefore, this article will discuss how to approach and address a conflict with a coworker.

Why is conflict resolution with a coworker noteworthy?

Most businesses and departments rely on cooperation between coworkers with various specializations. However, constant interaction and the pressure to deliver quality work on time can affect interoffice relationships.

Therefore, some employees might display negative or confrontational moods toward their associates. Addressing such conduct, whether from a peer or someone in a higher position, can assist you in avoiding such distractions and focusing on your work deliverables.

How to manage a conflict with a coworker?

Man in white dress shirt covering his face

We all are human and have human experiences while working. Therefore with all the assets your coworkers might possess, there are some negative traits they could improve upon. Regard these steps when dealing with negative interactions involving your colleagues:

Keep the issue isolated

If the conflict only concerns you and your coworker, keep the conversation between you two. It is advisable not to discuss the issue with other colleagues until the two of you have attempted to resolve the issue.

If you need to discuss the matter with someone and for support or an outside opinion, consider talking to your manager, friend, or family member.

Don’t postpone addressing the problem

While isolations of a dispute should occur, sometimes conflicts need assertively addressing the problem. Some interoffice difficulties between employees begin as inconsequential matters and, if not addressed on time, can lead to distress.

Once you have decided your issue with one of your coworkers is affecting your workplace well-being, it is essential to discuss it with them as soon as possible.

Handling the concern promptly can guide the situation to a swift resolution. However, if the conflict is sudden and unforeseen, it is usually reasonable to pause until you both can collect your thoughts. Being calm and reflecting on the matter will help you discuss the situation.

Keep a positive outlook

Staying upbeat when confronted with a dispute at work can help you preserve a reasonable level of productivity, lower your stress levels and improve the likelihood of a simple resolution. Even if the subject could potentially influence you, attempt to stay positive and put the issue into perspective.

Discuss the matter in person

It may seem best to send a quick email to address the issue in the digital age. Writing out your thoughts on the subject could help you gain insight into the situation. However, resist that urge to hit send.

If you decide to write about the subject, you might find out the coworker's response was partly to your actions. Therefore, it would help to de-escalate the situation if you also look at your part in the case.

Once you have decided to discuss the issue with your coworker, you should do it face-to-face. Doing so will help convey emotion and avoid confusion. While an indirect approach, such as an email explaining your point of view, may seem like a tempting alternative to a direct technique, it is less likely to lead to a resolution.

Talk calmly

People have a tendency to get emotional during conflicts. However, it would help if you tried to remain subdued during a workplace dispute. Not only does it preserve your reputation as an employee capable of regulating your emotions, but it can also discourage your coworker from being defensive or antagonistic.

If you sense that the situation would be challenging to stay calm and unflappable, you can step away to become more collected. As you take some time away, you can write down some of the fundamental attributes you want to make during the session to keep you on the route. Also, you can request a friend or family member to support you and rehearse the conversation.

Get right to the point

When discussing the issue with your coworker, take a direct approach and immediately tell them what you believe the problem is. Having analyzed the case beforehand, you should clearly understand what you need to say to them to explain your point of view.

Being straightforward may be more awkward than taking an indirect approach. Still, it allows both of you to express your points of view openly and maximizes the chances of fully resolving the entire situation.

Try to find things where you agree

Simply stating what you consider wrong concerning your coworker's discourse may drive them to an increased defensive state. Therefore, this reduces the probability of a quick resolution.

In order to have a results-oriented mindset, it is essential to remind them you are working on the same goals. Depending on your circumstances, you can note that you both want the project to succeed.

Highlighting how you are passionate about your company's long-term goals and any other goals that help bridge the gap in the conflict.

Listen to their point of view

When managing a conflict with a coworker, it's most beneficial to remember there are multiple perspectives. There could be a side to the issue you have not observed.

After making your argument, please make an effort to listen. Therefore you should understand what your colleague has to communicate about the subject and the justifications behind their acts.

After hearing their point of view, you can request further inquiries to ensure you comprehend their reasoning. Appropriately listening to one another's points of view can support you reach a compromise.

Seek a friendly resolution

It would help if you aimed to find a resolution that fits the best interests of both parties. Since you are conceivably going to continue working together, you will want to reach an agreement even if you disagree. You both must leave the conflict resolution session feeling like you can collaborate for the foreseeable future.

Understand when third-party involvement is necessary

The resolution of most interoffice conflicts can quickly occur between the two people involved. However, there are some situations when a third party needs to be involved.

People having conflict while workingIf the issue consists of a disagreement about a project, there are numerous ways to resolve the issue. Working together with a team could mean including other team members to provide feedback to help determine a solution to the conflict.

However, if your coworker is displaying discriminating or harassing behavior, it would be wise to involve the company's management and human resources department to resolve the issue.

The bottom line

Conflict resolution can create an uncomfortable situation. However, when the situation becomes more painful than seeking measures to resolve the problem, you will become motivated to make the change.

Hopefully, with these eight tips, you can find the appropriate mode to resolve the situation. Remember to take some deep breaths. Involving some calming exercises will help you on this path.