Reducing Workplace Conflict

Disagreements. Personality clashes. Tension. Many people would prefer to avoid conflict, but it’s unavoidable. Since everyone is unique, it’s inevitable that personal differences sometimes become “hot spots.”

Fortunately, research has shown that conflict at work can be substantially reduced by fostering an atmosphere of respect and cooperation. And all employees can play a role–you don’t have to be the group leader.

Some of the steps you can take to create a more harmonious workplace include:

  • Build trustBuild trust. Follow through on things you’ve agreed to do. Show integrity by speaking respectfully of others, even when they’re not in the room.
  • Promote understanding. Communicate clearly about what you're doing and what you expect from others.

  • Respect differences. Your coworkers may eat, vote, and even think and talk differently–and that’s okay! They may have been raised with different values and traditions. Perhaps you can learn something from them.

  • Keep an open mind. Listen to the suggestions of others, and consider them carefully rather than discarding them out of hand.

  • Check your reactions. If you’re upset and have the impulse to say or do something that might upset others, pause. Take some deep breaths and try to find a calm, constructive way to handle the situation.

  • Share the wealth. Show appreciation for the contributions of others, and accept your share of responsibility when things don’t go so well.

  • Consider everyone’s needs. Your needs are important, but you are also part of a team. Seek a balance that takes yourself and others into account–“win/win” solutions that will be acceptable to everyone.

    Many people are feeling stressed at work these days. All the more reason to do your part to make work a better place for everyone!