Regardless of the industry you work in; there is always the chance that it can turn from peaceful surroundings to a war zone full of conflict. Whether it’s a disagreement with a colleague, a lousy meeting with your boss, or an irate call from a customer; there are endless ways that your work day, and even week, can get ruined. It’s even more likely to happen if you’re unaware of how to properly handle those tense situations. The next time things get tough at work, keep these tips and tricks in mind.
Keeping your cool when faced with an irate boss, customer, or co-worker isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it’s crucial when dealing with conflict. When other people around you get worked up, ensure that you take a moment to catch your breath and escape to your happy place, so that way you avoid joining in on the negativity that comes with bad situations.
Identify the Issue
It’s easy to lose sight of what initially caused the problem when tensions rise. If you are trying to solve the issue by communicating with a colleague, and the conversation isn’t going anywhere, identifying the issue by repeating the problem aloud is an excellent approach to take. This can help make sure you understand the issue, and help the other person to feel like they are being heard: “Just to clarify, you feel that I’m not contributing to the project enough?”
Wear the Other Shoes
While angry responses can sometimes feel like they’re out of nowhere, they’re typically due to an underlying issue. Instead of immediately getting defensive, try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes to help you understand. Is it possible that your co-worker, customer, or boss is having a bad work day themselves? Empathy is a powerful tool when diffusing a highly tense situation. Sometimes, all a person needs is to be heard. Take the time to allow the other person to vent and see where things are after that. Most times, their anger has nothing to do with you.
Take a Timeout
If you find that the issue at hand can’t get resolved at the moment, take the time needed to assess it. If you’re upset, allow yourself to take a breath. Let your customer know that you need to investigate the issue further, or ask your boss if you can continue the conversation later.
Regardless of the problem, ensure that your conversation is focused on the solution. Once you and the other party have had the chance to talk, turn the focus to prevention and resolution. Settling on something positive can help you both to move forward and figure out a way to keep the problem from arising again.
All it takes is a little understanding, and most workplace issues can get sorted out. Even if it’s something that directly impacts you, or your ability to do your job, following along with the above tips can make things much more comfortable for you. No one wants to spend their time in a negative work environment, so quickly resolve the issue, and get back to being productive.