In an environment where you tend to see your co-workers more than you do your family, it’s all too often that one or two of you will rub each other up the wrong way. Workplace conflict is inevitable, but if you handle it properly you can make your differences valuable, instead of just frustrating.
n an environment where you tend to see your co-workers more than you do your family, it’s all too often that one or two of you will rub each other up the wrong way. Workplace conflict is inevitable, but if you handle it properly you can make your differences valuable, instead of just frustrating.
See your co-workers for who they are, not who you want them to be
We often get caught up in how we think others should behave, according to our values and our methods, instead of letting them be themselves. At the end of the day, we need to acknowledge that everyone has their own assets and flaws, and that not everyone is the same. Yes, we know it’s old news, but it’s true. No matter how annoying someone is, if you get to know them you will inevitably find something they can do better than you can.
Change your attitude
If there’s one set of wise words that truly can be applied to every area of life, it is “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes”. Often your viewpoint can drastically alter the context of a situation. If you see a colleague looking at you, then saying something to another colleague and both of them started laughing, you would likely be offended. However, if you heard them talking about the hilarious joke you told yesterday, you wouldn’t. Often the things we are hurt or irritated by are simply a question of our own assumptions and context, and if we can change that, we can drastically reduce our levels of perceived stress.
Learn to listen
Learning to listen is part of changing your attitude. If you understand why someone is doing what they are, it’s easier to know how to react. Many conflicts can be resolved with a simple “when you do [this], you make me feel like [this]” – the person often didn’t ever mean to offend you, and by listening to them, their “shoes” (metaphorically speaking) will be easier to walk in. In that same sense, it’s highly important to understand your own actions and your reasons for them. A lot of the time we will avoid someone who has the same attributes we dislike about ourselves, or even be completely unaware that we ourselves are acting in a displeasing way to others. Recognise your behaviour and adjust it.
Don’t get personal
If you’ve tried to turn the other cheek, walked a mile in someone else’s uncomfortable shoes, but they’re still a thorn in your side, there isn’t much else you can do besides take a step back. Accept that you cannot change them, and keep it strictly business. Most people manage to do this perfectly, but they forget the other half of the coin: not getting personal means you can’t get personal about that person to someone else, either. You are free to rant as much as you like to your family at home, but any negativity about a co-worker should never be passed on to someone in the office – no matter how great your friendship is.
Make your enemies work in your favour
Abraham Lincoln constructed a cabinet out of his political rivals, because he knew they would push him to do things better. If you can learn to take a closer look at the aspects that other people don’t like about you, you’ll most likely figure out how to change those flaws, too, for the betterment of yourself and your workplace. By pushing yourself to do things the way you want to, you’ll only bump heads with others, but by showing them you’re happy to give their methods a try, you can only improve your own skills as well as your work environment.
Image credit: http://www.negotiationlawblog.com