How to handle personal conflict at work

Woman discussing redundancy pay with employees

Hiring members of staff that bring something different to the table can be a benefit to solving problems and looking for an alternative way to approach a task. However, it can also lead to conflict, and if you find yourself disagreeing with members of your team, things can become heated.

Part of being in a position of authority is knowing where to draw the line between taking the lead and allowing collaboration from your workforce. It’s the same consideration you’ll make for not overstepping the line between being a manager and a friend. This isn’t easy to do, as you’ll need to achieve a positive working relationship with your staff without feeling walked over.

Conflict resolution methods are suitable for dealing with issues between employees, but when you’re experiencing your own problems with certain members of staff, you’ll need to approach the situation differently.

How to disagree politely at work

Open discussion is something that should be encouraged, especially as it can lead to innovative new ideas. Disagreements with members of staff are likely to happen eventually, but how you handle them will make all the difference. Just because you’re not on the same page as one of your colleagues doesn’t mean that you need to be unreasonable or unapproachable.

As an employer, you don’t want to lower the morale of your employee or put them off making further suggestions in the future. To prevent this from happening, think of constructive feedback to give them on their suggestion. While their idea might not be what you were looking for, you should be able to use this as an opportunity to see things from their point of view, even if it’s something you’re unable to agree on. By doing this, you could strengthen your relationship with the employee, turning what could have been an unpleasant situation into a positive one.

If for any reason you feel like the difference in opinion with your employee wasn’t taken in the best way, you may consider speaking with them privately. You could arrange a brief meeting with them on a one-to-one basis, where you can hear their thoughts in greater detail. There’s a strong chance that your decision will stay the same, but you can at least show that you appreciate their initiative.

How to argue effectively at work

As an employer, wouldn’t you rather have opinionated members of staff than a company full of people who will nod along with what you say regardless of their own thoughts?

Even though arguments are rarely planned, it’s inevitable that they will happen at some point, especially if several employees feel passionately about a specific subject. It’s difficult enough to get people to see you in the way you want, but it’s even harder when you’re a person of authority. In terms of professional arguments and heated discussions, you want to be respected enough for people to take you seriously, but you don’t want to come across as being impossible to speak to.

Coporate people listening

Tips for arguing effectively with your employees include:

Explain the issue in detail beforehand

Many arguments only become heated because some of the details were unclear with the people involved. If you’ve set out parameters for the issue you’re having before putting it to a debate, there will be a lower chance of things getting out of control, and it could speed up the process of finding a suitable solution.

Find positives in as many places as possible

You may find that some points were wide of the mark, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way of turning the situation into an opportunity for the member of staff to learn. It could be that they’re lacking in a specific skill or process, and by finding this out, you can offer support to help them improve.

Know where to draw the line

It’s possible that your argument will lead to a solution in no time at all and without any repercussions between the people involved. However, if no progress is made, some people – including you – could begin to feel frustrated. As the discussion goes on, you should see the difference between a positive discussion between colleagues and something that’s doing more harm than good. If things are escalating, put an end to it and find another way to solve the problem at hand.

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