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How to handle conflicts in the workplace

how to handle conflict in the workplaceConflict is a part of life for everyone. Even those non-confrontational people who avoid conflict feel it and must deal with it.

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When it comes to conflict at work, dealing with it can be a challenge.

The first things to consider when dealing with workplace conflicts are to remain calm and gather the facts.

Often in a conflict situation, words are tossed about, gossip is spread and things can escalate quickly.

By taking the time to breathe in and out and go to the source for information, you might avoid conflict altogether or at least make steps to find a solution.

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How you handle conflicts is an important part of your job, no matter where your work or what your position is. Workplace conflicts are going to happen; from the maintenance worker to the CEO no one is exempt from workplace conflict on some level. Granted, the CEO will likely get his or her way faster than some due to fear or worry, but still conflicts must be addressed. By addressing conflict as soon as you know it exists, you can manage the situation and find a solution quickly.

How to handle conflict:

1. Understand perspectives- know that even though you may feel you are right, there are many perspectives other than your own. People see things differently and they react to things differently as well. By keeping that knowledge fresh in your mind, you can deal with conflicts without condemnation, without blame. Casting blame is when conflicts spiral out of control, avoiding that is a key for conflict resolution.

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2. Communicate- ensure that your communication, both what you communicate and what you perceive, is clear. Miscommunication is the culprit for many conflicts that could often be avoided or cleared up quickly. Go to the source and have a frank yet respectful conversation about the issue. Sometimes people do not even realize they have misunderstood or been misquoted. Getting those kinds of situations defused quickly takes care of non issue conflict situations.

3. Take action- do not allow conflict to escalate or fester. Find the source of the conflict and take time to work it out, talk to the people involved face-to-face. Make your point but also hear other points. A conflict must be resolved, compromised upon, not left unresolved to cause bigger problems. The important thing is to talk with the source of the conflict directly, taking away the chance for being misquoted or misunderstood.

4. Remain calm-controlling the emotional responses to conflict is a big part of getting past the conflict negativity and on to resolving the issues. By remaining calm, the issues can be addressed without anger and fear on the part of anyone involved.

How you handle conflicts is something that will likely be asked about in a job interview, whether straight out or given to you in the form of a hypothetical situation. Even if you have not had experience with workplace conflict, these tips can help you articulate a workable plan of action that you would use in such a situation.

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by Don Georgevich

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