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Navigating Workplace Conflict

Work conflict is inevitable. As professionals, we spend approximately 2,080 hours working per year. Whether on-site, remote or hybrid, chances are that you interact with co-workers throughout your work week. The Myers-Briggs Company conducted research revealing that, on average, managers spend over 4 hours a week dealing with conflict most commonly resulting from poor communication.* The question is: how do you effectively address workplace conflict to mitigate its impact on your business?

four professionals arguing at a table

Handling conflict at work requires a myriad of skills, including effective communication, empathy and problem-solving. We suggest following a few processes to stimulate conversation, facilitate progress and reinforce trust.

  • Face-to-Face Communication: Create an opportunity for clear communication. Active listening and nonverbal cues are often unnoticed or disregarded over phone, email or text

  • Play Devil’s Advocate: Consider a position that forces you to explore different perspectives. This helps challenge assumptions and promotes critical thinking

  • Provide Feedback: Prevent escalation and continued conflict by offering constructive feedback and developing strategies to address similar situations more effectively

  • Prepare Documentation: Maintain transparency, consistency and fairness while addressing possible systemic issues, organizational culture and legal actions

Not all conflicts resolve. Utilizing effective communication and active listening will create a positive and safe environment to navigate and reduce future workplace conflicts.

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