Workplace conflict is natural and difficult to avoid. With various personality types collaborating, combined with the pressure of deadlines and other expectations, it is unrealistic to expect to always be in harmonious agreement with your colleagues. Being able to handle conflict professionally and productively is a crucial skill – learning more about these conflict resolution skills can help you in the workplace:
A significant hindrance to conflict resolution is the need to prove your point and “win” the disagreement, which generally results in impatiently looking for opportunities to interject while the other party is speaking, rather than actually trying to hear what they have to say. Practicing active listening, in which you intentionally and objectively pay attention to what the other person is saying, ensures you fully comprehend their message and do not jump to conclusions or filter out key points.
Miscommunication is often the root source of workplace conflict. Honing your communication skills can help with both the prevention and resolution of conflict. The most effective communicators are thoughtful regarding the message they want to convey. Be concise and focus only on communicating the most relevant information necessary for the other party to take the appropriate action. Never make any assumptions about what they “should” already know; instead, make it a priority to establish clear expectations upfront.
Conflict is often exacerbated by a lack of controlling one’s emotional response or understanding how you could be triggering someone else’s emotions negatively. Building your emotional intelligence, or the ability to recognize and manage emotions, can help you remain calm and approach conflict objectively without outbursts.
Resolving conflict cannot occur if each party is unwilling to be open-minded. The ability to reframe a situation, or think objectively about different perspectives to approach it behind your own experience, is the key to coming up with solutions and compromises without getting upset. When dealing with another person who disagrees with you, reframing the situation involves trying to understand their point of view, even when it differs greatly from your intentions or own view.
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