Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Resolve Office Conflicts
Resolve Office Conflicts

Resolve Office Conflicts

When the going gets tough, your coworkers can be the first to get on your last nerve. Whether it's due to on-the-job pressures, stress at home, familiarity or just proximity, when you're feeling hot under the collar, it's often your coworkers who wind up feeling the heat -- whether they actually deserve it or not. 

So the next time you're ready to explode because your cube neighbor did something that irritates you yet again, let these tips from business-harmony experts help you make peace rather than war.

Rethink Conflict

"What we think of as the usual way of resolving conflicts does not foster resolution," says ResolutionWorks founder Stewart Levine in his article "The Many Costs of Conflict," adapted from Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict into Collaboration. "Unfortunately, the operative premise that someone will win and someone will lose produces all losers, no matter who thinks they won. The dispute-resolution machinery often fuels the fire of conflict and impedes resolution."

Rather than throwing down the gauntlet next time you find yourself in coworker conflict, try to start a calm, productive dialogue, where you can collectively arrive at a situation that satisfies both parties. This way, you both come out winners.

Address the Underlying Problem, Not the Latest Symptom

The fact that the gal in the next cubicle just took another personal call when you need to meet with her is probably not really why you're so steamed. True, this is hardly considerate, and if it's a pattern, you may want to discuss it with her. However, it's rare one irritating act is the true source of conflict.

"Most conflict-resolution conversations do not foster resolutions that address the underlying sources of conflict -- breakdowns in relationships," says Levine in his article. So consider what's really getting under your skin before you address your coworker.

Exercise Emotional Intelligence

"When emotionally upset, people cannot remember, attend, learn or make decisions clearly," says Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence. These three applications of emotional intelligence can be helpful in productively resolving office conflict:

  • Air Grievances Sensitively: Think about the effect your criticism will have on its recipient. If your words suggest the person is dim-witted, lazy or inconsiderate, you will get defensiveness and resentment in response. Talk to your coworker the way you would want to be spoken to, and aim for resolution, not revenge.
     
  • Consider Others' Working Styles: Try not to get irritated just because somebody's approach is different than yours. 
     
  • Learn to Negotiate Effectively: Focus on the desired outcome of a conversation with your coworker, and strategize the best possible way to achieve your result.

Manage Your Stress

Our own pressures can make us short-tempered. "The workplace holds a plethora of anxiety producers," says Gloria Dunn, president of management-consulting company Wiser Ways to Work. She suggests the following strategies for regaining a sense of control and managing your stress level:

  • Mark off daily time that you keep free of interruptions.
     
  • Learn to say no. Create realistic boundaries, and stick to them. That way, you won't feel walked on, and you will feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
     
  • Create a workspace that nurtures you (e.g., makes you feel both physically and emotionally comfortable). 
     
  • Exercise daily.

But the best way to avoid office drama is to refuse to engage in it. Nobody can cook up a full-scale conflict alone. If you can maintain a clear head, a good perspective on the issues, a sense of self-awareness and some compassion for your coworkers, you really can work in peace.

Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

DTZ A UGL Company
Posted: 07/31/2014
Bridgeport, CT, 06604
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 07/31/2014
New York, NY, 10017
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 07/31/2014
Houston, TX, 77027
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 07/31/2014
Parsippany, NJ, 07054
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores
Posted: 07/31/2014
Shelby, IA

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.35.44-306
eTrustLogo