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How to Successfully Navigate Workplace Conflict

Our personality, upbringing, and culture shape our disposition toward conflict.

As social beings who long for acceptance and belonging, the average person does not go out looking for conflict.

Whether comfortable with or averse to conflict, it is important to know that it is human nature to have conflict. Put simply, conflict arises when there is a clash between parties with different interests, preferences, or approaches. Where even two people connect, sooner or later, differences are there are bound to arise.

Due to the dynamic of workplace power and relationships, navigating workplace conflict is especially tricky.

Integrate these 3 principles to successfully navigate conflict in your workplace:

1. Keep the End in Mind

Remind yourself why you are in your current position at the workplace and connected to the party with whom you are now in conflict.

By zooming out of the emotion and detail of the situation to the bigger picture of what it is you and possibly your counterpart ultimately seek to achieve, you are more likely to look for ways to (1) keep the relationship healthy and active (2) continue communicating (3) safeguard the ultimate objective you seek to achieve.

2. Get to the Root of the Matter

Find out what each of you really wants, both tangible and intangible.

Tangible things may be the exact details of the issues you are discussing, for example, the use of equipment, increased budget, or a specific team member. Intangible things could include respect, inclusion, and recognition.

When you get to the root of the matter you can see (1) what is important to each of you (2) different ways you can obtain results for both of you (3) what you can give to them, without diminishing your outcomes, and what value you can ask them, without diminishing theirs.

3. Exercise Your Power to Self-Control

“Self Control is strength. Calmness is mastery. You have to get to a point where your mood doesn't shift based on the insignificant actions of someone else. Don't allow others to control the direction of your life. Don't allow your emotions to overpower your intelligence.”

-Morgan Freeman.

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