Learn about some practical strategies you can use to handle conflict in the workplace.
1. Talk with the other person.
- Ask the other person to name a time when it would be convenient to meet.
- Arrange to meet in a place where you won’t be interrupted.
2. Focus on behavior and events, not on personalities.
- Say “When this happens …” instead of “When you do …”
- Describe a specific instance or event instead of generalizing.
3. Listen carefully.
- Listen to what the other person is saying instead of getting ready to react.
- Avoid interrupting the other person.
- After the other person finishes speaking, rephrase what was said to make sure you understand it.
- Ask questions to clarify your understanding.
4. Identify points of agreement and disagreement.
- Summarize the areas of agreement and disagreement.
- Ask the other person if he or she agrees with your assessment.
- Modify your assessment until both of you agree on the areas of conflict.
5. Prioritize the areas of conflict.
- Discuss which areas of conflict are most important to each of you to resolve.
6. Develop a plan to work on each conflict.
- Start with the most important conflict.
- Focus on the future.
- Set up future meeting times to continue your discussions.
7. Follow through on your plan.
- Stick with the discussions until you’ve worked through each area of conflict.
- Maintain a collaborative, “let’s-work-out-a-solution” attitude.
8. Build on your success.
- Look for opportunities to point out progress.
- Compliment the other person’s insights and achievements.
- Congratulate each other when you make progress, even if it’s just a small step. Your hard work will pay off when scheduled discussions eventually give way to ongoing, friendly communication.