4 Tips for Dealing with Personal Conflict in the Workplace
Whether we like it or not, women will always have a more difficult time advancing in the workplace. Any ambitious woman will have to deal with one or more of the various stereotypes about powerful women outlined recently in Forbes Magazine here.
Whether it’s against an individual or a group, a man or a woman, you’ll inevitably butt heads at work. Here’s how to deal with an interpersonal problem at work with poise and tact.
- If someone’s behavior is bothering you, don’t simply backbite.
While this is usually the first thing that many of us will resort to, hold yourself back from gossiping about this person, especially if you are gossiping with someone else at work. Whether or not this person’s behavior is completely out of line, it’ll make you look even worse if it’s discovered that you are maliciously trying to character assassinate with others in the office, even if everyone agrees with you. At the end of the day, no one likes a gossip.
- Don’t ever resort to cheap shots.
It’s just as easy to gossip as it is to find various ways to launch personal insults, whether directly at the problem co-worker, or behind her back. If you are going to complain to an authority, don’t ever make it personal or catty. For example, if the problem is that a supervisor is treating you unfairly, don’t bring up completely unrelated material, like how she was saying or doing inappropriate things at the company happy hour.
- Try to resolve the problem with the person question, just between the two of you.
If you have a serious problem with someone, don’t be a coward and just whine about it to others. Confront the person in question as kindly and straightforwardly as possible. Explain why this person’s behavior is making you uncomfortable or is compromising your ability to perform your job. Don’t make it about the person’s character; rather, emphasize the behavior that is bothering you. When you emphasize behavior, this leaves room open for compromise and behavioral change.
- If the problem is extreme, file a formal complaint with HR.
If you’ve tried talking to this person privately, and the behavior doesn’t change, consider filling a formal complaint with HR. If the behavior is any form of harassment, sexual or otherwise, go straight to HR. Before filing a complaint, read your company handbook thoroughly and make your written complaint based on the rules that the person may be violating. This will make it easier for HR to take an appropriate action to end the behavior.
Hopefully, your workplace has been mostly conflict-free. But almost invariably there will be one problem person who will make working a living hell. Don’t let it continue. Don’t let someone walk all over you. At the same time, proceed as professionally as possible, so that you will be respected by everyone in the office regardless of what ends up happening. Good luck!
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges
. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com