Career and Life Coaching
Six Tips To Conflict Management At Work
By Marielys Camacho-Reyes
Sep 18, 2011 - 7:52:23 PM

LOS ANGELES—It is commonly known that when people work together or have any type of relationship that involves making important decisions together, disagreements and difference of opinions between them will arise. Let’s face it; there is not such a thing as a “free of conflict” workplace.

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Photo by Yelenys Calabrese

How many of you have experienced a conflict at work? The type of conflicts that leaves you wondering if you are in an adult’s working environment or at a children’s playground? I certainly have, and I can tell you my friend; that’s not a pleasant feeling. The important part here is to learn how to manage those conflicts to create a better and healthier working environment for all the people involved.

If you are currently involved or experiencing some type of conflict at work, I invite you to keep reading. Below, you will find six tips to successfully manage disagreements or conflicts at work. Following these simple tips will help you not only to identify those moments in which a conflict may be developing but at the same time they will help you to successfully manage them to be able to build a stronger working relationship with your peers and a healthier and productive working environment for you and for those around you.

Tip # 1: Identify what the “real” problem is: This is one of the most important tips. Make sure you recognize what is causing the conflict in the first place. By identifying the real problem, you will have a better chance to attack it directly, not having to waste time trying to find solutions to an issue that, in fact, wasn’t the actual problem at that moment.

Tip # 2: Listen to the other person’s point of view: Listen, listen, and after you finished listening, make sure you listen some more. This will be the key of your success. By listening to the other part, you can make sure that, in fact, you are the one that has the best argument or perhaps, the other person has a valid point and you are the one that needs to “change” the way the conflict is being managed.

Tip # 3: Express your point of view in a respectful way: Don’t be afraid to express your opinions, or letting the other person know what your point of view is. The key here is to do it intelligently and with respect. Don’t let your emotions get in the way, or you will take the risk of looking like a crybaby.

Tip # 4: Compromise: Together, try to find a way to make the issue go away or to create a better solution to the problem in hand. By compromising, you show all the parts involved in the issue that you do care about their opinions and that all you want is for the problem to go away. Don’t have an “I want to win” attitude. It's better to negotiate.

Tip # 5: Seek guidance from a supervisor: If after trying to solve the problem with all the parties involved you still feel that an agreement hasn’t been reached, talk to your supervisor so he can be aware of the situation and help you to find the best way to deal with the problem. But remember, seeking guidance and whining about your co-workers isn’t the same thing. Make sure you look professional and that you have all your ducks in a row when you go and talk to your supervisor or you will look like you are pushing him to take sides, which isn’t an intelligent thing to do.

Tip # 6: Learn from the experience and move on: Every conflict we face in our lives can serve as a learning experience. Take advantage of those moments to learn something new and to open yourself to new ideas. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to fight for what you think is right, but to respect other people’s points of views and ideas and try to learn from them. Then, move on!

Successfully managing disagreement is a skill that not everyone knows how to put in practice, but not a difficult one to learn. It requires that one of the people involved in the conflict decides that he/she doesn’t want to continue arguing and wants to fix whatever disagreement they have the correct way, and at the same time decides to act like the “big kid” to ensure a positive outcome during the conflict management process.

One last thought, “successful leaders manage conflict; they don’t shy away from it or suppress it but see it as an engine of creativity and innovation. Some of the most creative ideas come out of people in conflict remaining in conversation with one another rather than flying into their own corners or staking out entrenched positions.” ~ Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky


About the Author:

Marielys Camacho-Reyes is a career/life coach with over 10 years of experience in the human resources field and human relationships. If you would like to receive a one-time free coaching session, visit her website at mcrcoaching.com or email her at success@mcrcoaching.com.



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