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Dealing with Conflict in the Office

Dealing with conflict is never easy, but if you allow yourself to become worked up, it’s going to be hard to make clear and sensible decisions. It’s all about controlling your temper and exercising emotional intelligence.

If you have a grievance, try to air it sensitively and think about the kind of effect your criticism might have on the recipient. You should always speak to a co-worker as you would like to be spoken to. It seems like common sense, but common sense all too easily goes out the window in stressful situations.

Remember, the most important skills for a manager are interpersonal skills and people management. If you can master these early on, you have a good chance of advancing up the ladder.

Managing stress

But it’s not always the fault of our co-workers. We can become short tempered due to our own problems outside of the workplace. It’s not always easy, but we should always try to keep our personal problems away from work.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean you need be perfect. You should expect some understanding from co-workers and managers – we’re all human, after all.

If it is a specific co-worker who’s causing you stress, then try not to rise to it. Office conflicts take more than one person to begin, and if you don’t engage then the conflict can never really start. Of course, if the co-worker refuses to let up, then it’s probably time to talk to HR.

Gauging the workplace

Some workplaces like the energy that comes from a lively office – co-workers all pulling closely together toward a common aim and bouncing ideas off each other. Others offices couldn’t think of anything more distracting than the chattering of voices competing with the sound of Spotify playing in the background.

To avoid conflict, it best to gauge the attitude of the office. You don’t want to be the only chatty one in an office where everyone else prefers to work quietly. Also, avoid playing music, through headphones or otherwise, until you know it’s OK to do so. This can be the greatest cause of conflict, as many managers can’t see how you can give your full focus to the job while listening to music.

It’s the same with the dress code. Some offices have a totally casual environment, while others are more traditional and conservative. It’s best to remain in keeping with the rest of office. Even with long skirts there plenty of ways to look both stylish and professional, and with so many different blazer designs, you can look sleek up top, as well.

The conduct you display toward your manager is also something you should consider to avoid conflict. Some managers like to have close, friendly relationships with their staff, while others like things kept strictly professional. It’s best you gauge your manager’s personality type as best you can before you start joking around.

About Emma Gilbert

Working in the marketing industry since 2002. This blog is one of my hobbies.

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