We have all been there. A coworker said something that rubbed you the wrong way or maybe it was a client who said something inappropriate. Regardless of who it was and what they said, we could all use a few tools for dealing with conflict in a professional matter. I’ll share a few tips below.
Open the Lines of Communication
No one should ever feel silenced or like they can’t speak up. Make communication a priority in your workplace and with your clients. Consider creating an open-door policy to let your clients and employees know that you are available to hear any of their concerns, no matter what they might be.
Once you open the lines of communication, make sure they stay open. Check-in with your employees to ensure their needs are met and their voices are heard. Ask specific questions that will help you resolve workplace issues and avoid simply saying “I’m sorry.” Instead say, “I’m sorry you feel this way and I want to help you address these concerns. I am here for you and will do whatever I can.” Let your employees/clients know that you hear their concerns or frustrations and you want to help them and make any systemic changes necessary.
This is extremely important. So often we say we are listening but we aren’t truly hearing the other person. Don’t interrupt, don’t compare your experience to theirs, don’t react until the client/employee is finished. After this, consider repeating their frustrations back to them. You can say: “I want to make sure I heard you correctly so I can help alleviate your frustrations. _____ made you upset because_____.”
Embrace the Conflict
It’s important that you embrace conflict head on. The longer you wait to address an issue the more tension will build and the more the situation can spin out of control. By meeting the conflict head on and vowing to find a resolution, you show your client/employee that you aren’t going to run and hide but hear them out and work to find a solution.
Your employee or client will know immediately if you aren’t being authentic. People can sniff out someone who is fake like a police dog can sniff out drugs. How are you responding to the conflict? Are you saying one thing to your client/employee’s face and another thing entirely when you communicate with someone else? During conflict, it is important to be as transparent as possible. Be honest about how you feel and don’t say one thing but do another. If you want more information on how to behave authentically in and outside of the workplace, read this.
After discussing the issue or reaching a resolution, focus on moving forward. The best thing you can do is move forward, forgive, and refrain from holding grudges. Grudges can lead to an uncomfortable work environment. When the work is uncomfortable, the outcomes and production of that work suffer.
I hope this article was helpful and gives you some ideas for dealing with workplace conflict. If you would like some more tips on how to confront conflict, I like this article. How do you handle conflict in the workplace? Let me know in the comments!