How to Handle Confrontation in the Workplace

Conflict is something we experience on a day-to-day basis, in life with friends, our loved ones, families and the workplace. When it comes to confrontation in the workplace, it can cause a huge degree of discomfort and frustration if it’s not dealt with efficiently. Building a good reputation is paramount to progression within your career, and if you are able to diffuse situations with a cool and calm approach, this will help you advance within your industry and maintain good rapport with your peers and management. So how do you put out fires at work?

Don’t avoid it

Burying your head in the sand only lets problems fester. If you pretend everything is okay (when it definitely isn’t) before you know it, you’ll have a problem that has escalated and become toxic. Address things head on rather than shying away from issues. It may feel daunting at first, but you will feel relief at acting quickly, eliminating the dread sitting in your stomach.

Empathise

It’s easy to think of how you have been affected or aggrieved, but it takes more emotional intelligence to step back and see things from the other person’s point of view. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes allow you understand their motive as well as actively listen. When people feel heard and understood, they often back down or are willing to compromise, getting you back on track to ease tensions.

Stick to facts

Leave your hot-headed emotions at the door. Try to make a decision which is based around the facts and also fairness. Forget personal agendas; stay calm and pragmatic and approach things in the most objective way possible. This will allow your professionalism to shine through as well as helping you reach a mutual understanding.

See the opportunity

Every problem comes with a lesson to be learned. Get introspective and dive into how the situation came about. Question yourself. How can you do things differently next time? Where did you go wrong? All of these allow you to grow and become a better colleague (and person).

Work can be a stressful place. There are deadlines, targets to be met, intense pressure and a mix of personalities that we don’t always get along with. If you can put the above into practise and work on your ability to diffuse confrontation, it will really help you shine within the workplace and foster a level of respect from your peers. The next time you find yourself in a heated situation, remember there is always a way to come to a shared understanding.