You are young, talented and love the job you currently hold. However, you cannot seem to get along with that one person in your office. The one colleague you are constantly bickering with, so much so that it has started affecting your work.
It is first important to understand why conflict arises. The simplest explanation is it is not possible to see eye to eye with everybody. The logic behind it is that as humans, we tend to build certain expectations out of others and when these expectations, do not match disagreement or conflict arises. Especially in an organizational context where one interacts with people from diverse backgrounds there is a higher chance of conflicting ideas and thoughts that result in differences of opinion. No organization will have employees who carry the same attitude as others, take it for sure that plusses and minuses are always the part of any setup. It is just complementing and supplementing each other’s weaknesses ad strengths that an organization aims for.
The real problem
There are various cause of workplace conflict amongst them miscommunication change in management dissatisfaction with management policies, ineffective leadership etc. Thus, an employee who feels his /her manager is biased towards another teammate or is stressed from working long hours or feels that someone else is being credited for his work, is bound to be upset and perhaps it in his interaction with others.
However conflict by itself is not a problem. The real concern is the way in which conflict is dealt with. As an employee, your behavioral traits are constantly under observation and how you handle a disagreement with your co-worker can affect how you are viewed by your seniors as well as by colleagues. Not only that given that we spend a good part of our waking lives at the work place and with our colleagues it is important that all conflicts are nipped in the bud and you can carry on working in professional harmony.
Don’t avoid it
The first rule to deal with conflict is to stop ignoring it. Often just to avoid confrontation employees turn a blind eye to the issue at hand, however this approach is not advisable as the conflict only worsens over a period of time. When two members of a team are at conflict productivity get affected not only at their level, but also of the entire team. Conflict lends to an air of negativity which crates a tense atmosphere and hence employees in general face a lower morale.
Hence, the sooner you talk over your problems the better they get resolved. This is true for conflict at any level with most people. Talk as you would like to be spoken to. Keep in mind that you are dealing with some body at work. As a professional there is a code of conduct that you are expected to follow? While a colleague may instigate you by talking in a rude manner, you must at all times, maintain a calm and professional endeavor. While it may seem pointless and maybe even frustrating at that point in time, it will put you a step ahead in the game and also in better stead with your seniors. Also, don’t bring in emotion as it is seen as sign of demanding sympathy. Always be polite and talk only in a manner that would be acceptable to you if you were being spoken to.
Work the issues not the person
Be patient while you talk to a colleague. If you get into discussions with biased opinions of the person then you will not achieve a solution. Don’t fall into the trap of addressing a person, rather address the particular behavior that is the cause of trouble. To effectively resolve a conflict one needs to be non-judgmental and at the same time listen to all arguments with an open mind. The conflict needs to be resolved and managed within the team by setting its eye on larger vision and goals for organization/team. This will lead to productive resolution without any individual feeling cornered.
Finally, remember that we don’t lie in others what we don’t want to see in ourselves. Yet when one of our characteristics is not to our liking we do not react in the extremes.