How to Handle Conflicts With Your Colleagues

Conflicts at the workplace – we’ve all encountered one at some point. From something as trivial as who stole who’s mug from the cupboard, to bigger altercations surrounding an important project, clashes in the workplace are pretty much inevitable – even if you and your colleagues are harmonious 95% of the time.

When dramas arise in the office, it’s crucial they are dealt with in the right way. The amount of time you spend with your colleagues means that a frosty atmosphere can make your days long and uncomfortable, so its best to nip any differences in the bud quickly and effectively. This is particularly true if you’re in a managerial role – it is up to you to ensure your employees are working in a healthy environment, meaning if conflicts are brought to your attention, you should do your best to resolve it as soon as possible.

The best way to avoid conflict is good communication. Issues are bound to arise when instructions for a task are unclear or get lost in translation. Make sure you communicate information to your colleagues clearly, and as soon as they need it. Although issues can still arise, communicating effectively with your team can make these less common and undoubtedly less serious.

As a manager, it’s important to know when the correct point is to become involved. Employees aren’t your kids, so you shouldn’t have to resolve every minor conflict that occurs. However, when things become more serious and begin to affect the whole office, it could be time for you to intervene. Firstly, it’s important to remain objective and listen to both sides equally. Identify what the real issue is, and make steps to improve it. These will change depending on the situation, but those involved should be committed to keeping the peace. Keep a record of the incident and if the same happens again, you’ll soon know who the serial offenders are.

If you’re an employee directly involved with the issue, it can be a bit more difficult than if you’re a manager with an objective perspective. Again, you should make a conscious effort to settle the issue sooner rather than later. Sometimes this can mean swallowing your pride, and admitting you’ve done wrong – at the very least for the sake of your other colleagues.

 If this isn’t something you want to do, there are other routes you can follow to regain peace in the office. Firstly, don’t gossip with other colleagues about it. This could quickly blow things completely out of proportion, and make the issue worse than it was to begin with. Let yourself and whoever else is involved have some time to cool off, then make efforts to discuss the issue face to face. Stay calm, and let everyone get their point across. You might not be the person’s biggest fan, but its important to get over the issue and not hold any major grudges. Remember how much time you have to spend in the office – a hostile environment is the last thing you, or your co-workers, would want.

Once the conflict has been resolved, it’s important for everyone involved to learn from it. Of course, this doesn’t mean there wont ever be any other issues in the office, they just might be easier to solve with a bit of experience. A happy workplace is a productive workplace, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to make the office environment as pleasant as possible.

If you’ve found employment through an agency like Stafffinders, you can always get in touch with your consultant to voice any concerns. Your consultant will want to ensure your role is right for you, and if any conflicts arise will help you find a solution in every way they can.