No matter how hard you try, and no matter how hard you try to avoid it, there will always be some form of confrontation or conflict at work. We spend so much time at work, sometimes in small confined offices and spaces it is highly likely a confrontation will occur. Not only that; mix stress, pressure, hunger perhaps and sometimes work place jealousy or competition into the mix and work places can positively encourage confrontation.
Of course, we all have a certain way in which we would naturally engage in a confrontation, or will feel that the work place has told us a certain way to deal with confrontation and in this article, we are going to talk about how you could try to deal with such a situation, should it arise.
In our experience, trying to avoid the conflict or confrontation is not the best option; this can sometimes just ‘pause’ the confrontation and will allow it to bubble over for longer than necessary.
A good way is to approach the situation with a calm head, at a neutral place and at a time that allows for a conversation to occur.
If you feel an issue arising, it is best you speak with your colleague to try to nip it in the bud. Normally, this is best done in a private location away from prying ears; doing so can avoid any embarrassment or unnecessary influence. It can be somewhere outside, in an office or in a private room.
Always avoid confronting the issue over the telephone or via email. Face to face conversations are the only way to gauge a person’s emotions, tone and body language.
Any kind of conflict or confrontation needs to be given the right amount of time to get to sort out. You don’t want to feel rushed otherwise it can add to the stress that may be on-going and make people’s views feel undervalued.
Not only that, it is best not to try to deal with the confrontation there and then in the moment. If this happens, the emotions of the moment can hold an influence in the discussions which may make things worse.
Try to schedule a time that won’t interfere with the working day, will allow you plenty of time to talk, and won’t allow for emotions to dominate.
It is important that whenever entering a conflict resolution meeting, or trying to overcome a confrontation, both of you enter with a clear mind and in the understanding that it isn’t a ‘point scoring’ exercise – more of a way to air out all of the issues and to come to a safe and fair agreement. For this to happen you need to ensure that you keep an open mind, ask plenty of questions and be willing to listen. The last thing you want to do is make the meeting all about you and to only try to force your views and opinions across.
Try to avoid putting blame on the other person and try to remove yourself and them from the situation, remain empathetic and be prepared to come to a resolution.
Ultimately, confrontations will occur at work. It is so tough to avoid them. However, the dealing of the situation and being willing to work things out in a calm and mutual manner is what will truly make the difference in the long-term and will ensure a good working environment for a long time to come.