The truth is you can never see eye to eye with everyone you work with – be it a co-worker, supplier, customer or even the boss. That is because conflict is inevitable. If you spend enough time interacting with people, eventually your ideas, attitudes and needs are bound to be contrary to the other person resulting in differences of opinion and disagreements.
What to do when you have to resolve conflicts at work
Conflicts by themselves are not the problem. The way you handle these disagrements have a powerful impact on how you are perceived as an employee. You can never win an argument at work. Winning ie., getting the outcome you want regardless of the other person never helps – as the underlying issue hasn’t been resloved. It will appear again later over some other topic. Here are some ways which will help you resolve conflicts:
Realising conflicts are inevitable at work: Whenever people are engaged and committed, disagreements are bound to happen. They can be a learning process for you – the best workplaces are not the ones without conflicts, but are the ones where people handle conflicts effectively and efficiently. Once a conflict happens, try to resolve it as soon as possible. It‘s tempting to wait and let it cool by itself, however it only gets worse over time
Don’t start by being defensive, remember, you could be wrong. Whenever you realise that a conflict has occurred, take initiative and invite the other person to talk about the situation. Always be respectful, yet be assertive and polite in how you communicate. Address conflict with desire to improve a situation and not a reason to complain
When you address a conflict, don‘t just lay out the problem and your frustration associated with it – you need to have a solution orientation. As they say – never go to the Boss without the solution! Show willingness to negotiate: the other person will see your part of the bargain and will more likely talk about his concerns too. Also don’t overgeneralise – avoid starting sentences with You always.. or You never… Remember to listen – some people interrupt and rehearse what they need to say instead of truly listening what the other person is talking about
Refrain from gossiping about your issues with co-workers; even if you need to speak to your co- worker in office, make sure that it is in strict confidence.
There are standard conflict resolution practices that employees need to adhere to as part of the HR policies in an organisation. If a resolution doesn’t seem possible, you can speak with your HR person about different working arrangements, workstation/cubicle movement or being assigned on an alternate project. Whatever you do, be professional – explain your position and seek meditation if that helps.
Conventional wisdom says that good communication can improve relationships, trust and support. Try to follow these steps mentioned above and you will be on the path to working effectively!
It’s Ok to Have Your Own Opinion
Some people are naturally more prone to confidently stating their opinion to the world. Others tend to hide behind the mask of agreement, and rarely contradict anything that is said by someone else. Although almost no one wants to be in a position where they are vehemently disagreeing with everyone they meet, it is everyone’s right to have an opinion of their own and to voice it.
Yes, You Are Entitled to Your Opinion
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. You are no exception. Whether you feel strongly about something, or just have some thoughts that you want heard, your voice counts. When you make your voice heard, it brings confidence to you that will affect every area of your life in a positive way.
Yes, Others Are Entitled to Their Opinion
Just as you are allowed to have your thoughts, so is everyone else. If you want to be heard, you must also be a good listener. Take the time to hear those around you in order to bridge the gap between you, no matter how different your opinions may be.
Difference in Opinion Brings Growth
When we cease to debate, we cease to grow. Having a good heart-to-heart talk with someone who is on the other side of any debate brings opportunity for personal growth for both parties. Use this chance to sharpen your mind and stretch your way of thinking in a positive way.
Difference in Opinion Brings Education
There are times we believe ourselves to be an expert, but are then proven wrong. When you discuss any situation, keep an open mind and realise that you may be able to learn. There are others who have more knowledge or life experience than you do. No one has walked in anyone’s shoes but their own, and you can always learn a thing or two from someone else. Allow yourself to be educated by those you can learn from, and teach others when they need to learn from you.
Having an Opinion Gives a Person Confidence
Although it may feel like people want a friend who they can walk over, someone with an opinion is usually more highly valued and respected. Stand up for what you believe in and rock the boat when necessary. This will bring you confidence and cement your true beliefs even further. You can have friendships with individuals who think differently from you. It is healthy and good for both parties involved.
Those with Their Own Opinions Change the World
A doormat won’t make dramatic changes to the world. Only those who have learned to respectfully disagree will make a difference. When there is an injustice happening, and you feel like the only one who isn’t going along with it, you must speak up. There are people you may not even have met who depend on you, and who depend on your passion and determination to boldly disagree in order to change their world. You never know when your words and thoughts are going to be what makes a positive difference in a conversation or even a life.
Learn When to Walk Away
Sometimes you meet people who just want to argue. Generally they’re the one’s who will continue to disagree even when presented with logic and facts. When you come across these types and you feel like your going around in circles, it’s okay to walk away. Conversation about differing opinions can lead to growth for both parties, but arguments about something when one side is just looking for the disagreement just leads to a waste of everyone’s time.