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Conflict at work: Should you fight or negotiate?

June 22, 2017 09:21 IST

Acknowledge the fact there is trouble brewing. Bury the hatchet. Start afresh, suggests Mathew J Maniamkott.

How to deal with your boss

There will always be misunderstandings within an office environment, as such is the atmosphere where there is a lot of competition, professional jealousy and more often than not, the job gets to you.

You do realise that you spend more time at the office than with friends and family?

Considering there is not much bonding in the workplace, things could often go awry.

There could be conflicts and arguments that stretch beyond your clock-out time, making you enter your home with a grouchy demeanour. Something you'd want to avoid.

Workplaces are not the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says 'think of a happy place', there are a lot of negative connotations and emotions attached to it.

How do you bridge the gap at the work place after misunderstandings?

Not all battles are worth fighting over

As is in life, in workplaces too, choose your battles.

If your boss slights your idea once in front of your subordinates, do not feel berated, lose your patience and agitated in the process. Calmly let it pass.

Though if it does come across as a frequent occurrence, then stand up for yourself. Still doesn't mean you go all guns blazing.

With professional courtesy intact, write your boss a gentle email asking him for a chance to talk in private and discuss your feelings.

Address the conflict immediately

You're at a point where your interactions with a co-worker are going downhill. Before it snowballs into something really nasty, take your coworker to a private place and try to address the issue.

Acknowledging the fact that there is trouble brewing would express your desire to bury the hatchet and start afresh.

In case you just had a heated conversation, do not immediately go about solving it, let things cool before you hear each other out.

Keep calm and talk politely

It's easy to take upon a passive aggressive stand while in the thick of a discussion.

One way to mitigate the intensity of the interaction would be to either talk politely which requires a Himalayan effort. Otherwise, it would be to wise up and limit your interactions.

Once there is little interaction to provoke any sort of untowardness, there isn't much to complain about. You can expect the ill-will against each other subside over time.

Find a common ground

No matter how much bad blood is brewing between you two or the levels of toxicity in the snarky comments only gets worse, try to find a common ground to funnel that vent.

Say something on the lines of "We both want to get this project completed on time", "We are both passionate about doing this". Such statements could help channel that rage.

Know when to involve a third-party

Office conflicts need to be handled tactfully, as the reputation of being a 'difficult person' will travel many a mile in your professional journey.

Most times, these issues can be handled between the warring parties itself.

Issues like sexual harassment need to be immediately reported to a third party, preferably the HR. If a colleague has threatened you or is harassing you continually, this is when you need to take it to a third-party.

While you and your colleague might never get to be great friends, it doesn't mean that you indulge in any sort of bickering, that's counter-productive.

Reflect on what went wrong and how it could have been avoided.

If there were your actions that triggered the conflict in the first place, make sure to keep it in check.

Use the entire episode as a learning process and never to resort to your previous behavior again.

Lead image -- a still from Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year -- used for representational purposes only.

Mathew J Maniamkott