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How to handle conflict in the workplace

Conflict in the work place can make for a very unpleasant employment environment to be at on a daily basis. Most people are at a given worksite for 40 hours or more in one week. During these times, conflicts with co-workers and managers are going to happen. The reasons for these conflicts vary; here are five of the top types of work place conflicts plus tips to help ease the situation.

1. Lack of communication or poor communications skills are the cause for many work place conflicts. People communicate ideas, wants, directions and visions in different ways.

· Learn to listen before commenting. By listening, an employee can articulate back the instructions immediately.

· Ask questions. As an employee understanding directions is a must especially when wanting to get positive feedback in the work place. Do not be afraid to ask questions in order to get the job done up to the manager’s or owner’s expectations. By asking questions in the beginning, an employee will not have to repeat a job or task which saves time and money.

· Take notes. If the project, task or job is to be done all week, learn to take notes as the work situation is being described. Taking notes will help an employee remember what job is to be done and in the required format.

· Learn to address issues in a positive way. As an employee learning to address a specific conflict issue is just part of being a member of the organization.

2. Human emotions play a big part in work place conflicts. When getting a group of people together, there is always the chance for emotions to get in the way. Emotions are just part of human nature.

· Jealousy is always big in the work place. An employee who thinks another co-worker should not get a promotion or recognition for a task can cause a lot of conflict. As an employee learn to utilize the concept of self-worth. Leaders and managers know when employees are working in an efficient manner; there is always another promotion or bonus on the horizon.

· Angry can be seen many times in a stressed working relationship. Try going to the restroom as a time-out break. Stepping away from a situation can help everyone who is involved. Learn to count to ten or twenty depending on how much time is needed for the anger to be subsided. Remember voicing an opinion in anger can always be forgiven after an apology but the memory is still there. Learning to wait to address the situation is a good communication tool to utilize.

· Remember to act like an adult; a work environment is not a place for gossip, tattling, point fingers, and calling co-workers names. Try to handle the situation in a positive manner with words that are appropriate for the business.

3. Learn to accept different views in a respectful manner. Going into the workforce may result in an environment made up of employees from different backgrounds. Learn to have an open mind. Perhaps, a new approach to a conflict or other situation is needed to improve the business and the relationships in the business.

4. Learn to have the mindset that a conflict is a teaching tool. Conflicts can show employees how not to handle a certain situation or task. The resolution issue can show what type of steps can be taken to quickly get the conflict out the way to work on the next task or project.

5. Make certain that the issue is completely resolved. By making certain the conflict is out of the way, business and morale can get back to normal. Learn to compromise in order to resolve the issue. Compromising means that the issue is valid but work and productive should take precedence.

All businesses have some sort of conflict; learning to deal with issues in a positive manner can help the company keep being productive. When conflicts get in the way of everyday work routines, morale and productivity can decline. If a conflict cannot be resolved, a person in higher authority may need to be brought in to help in the situation. But this approach can cost time and money which is why a mediator should only be used a last resort.

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