Averting Conflict

There comes a time when conflict inevitably percolates in the workplace. How you handle it makes a difference in whether it permeates, lingers, or fades.

Sometimes you have little control over a decision, such as deeply cutting expenses when cash flow is tight. Other times, you might take an unpopular position that upsets some of your staff.

Dealing with conflict can be challenging, but you can preempt some of the potential negative impact by thinking through the consequences ahead of time.

Prepare before you speak. Script your message and practice it so that it sounds natural. By practicing out loud, you’ll work through your own concerns and will build your confidence.

Don’t be defensive. People will interpret this as weakness, and it will diminish your effectiveness.

Take time to listen. Allow people to express their concerns. Sometimes the mere act of venting makes people feel better.

Don’t dwell on what can’t be changed. If people persist in discussing or resisting what can’t be changed, it will perpetuate feelings of anxiety and frustration.

Tell the truth. Don’t speculate by editorializing.

Don’t play both sides. You’ll look wishy-washy and lose credibility.

Be prepared for pushback. It’s inevitable. You need to stay the course.

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it should trigger some ideas that will work for you in your circumstances.

Header image by Timur Weber/Pexels.

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