Workplace conflict and how to approach the boss

Conflict Management

One of the hardest part of any job is not the work, but rather the people you work with. When a group of people from different backgrounds and cultures with different beliefs come together, it is inevitable that conflict will arise. If conflict does arise what do you do? If you do decide to approach your supervisor or boss to discuss the conflict in the workplace, here are a few tips how you should go about it.

Before approaching your boss think of a solution – Most supervisors, managers and bosses are busy and already have lot on their minds and things to deal with. They don’t need the extra problem having to deal with conflict among their employees. The best way to bring up extra issues with your boss is first to think up solutions for the conflict. This will not only help your boss without giving him an extra layer of worry but also show your leadership qualities and reputation.

Think about the risk between yourself and co-workers – Any workplace environment is a social arena and no interaction happens in a vacuum. before you approach your boss, first do your own risk to reward evaluation and make sure you understand and calculate your own personal standing in the office in relation to your co-workers. You don’t want to become the office pariah. So first decide if it is truly worth it before approaching your boss.

Always choose the right timing to approach your boss – Timing is everything with most things in life especially when you need to approach your boss and bring up issues of conflict in the workplace. For example, if you notice your boss returning to the office after a successful meeting or lunch with a client, and is chatty and smiling, chances are this is a good time to discuss conflict and problems in the workplace in a calm way. Avoid discussing issues just before important meetings that your boss has to attend and has a lot on his or her mind. Or just before the end of the day when everyone is preparing to go home and call it a day.

Act and be professional – Never approach your boss when you fuming, angry and upset. Supervisors and managers never want to deal with emotional people. It only adds to the problem. Rather take the time to calm down. Perhaps take a walk outside and take a deep breath before approaching your boss.

Discuss issues over lunch – Take your boss out for lunch. This will be appreciated because this does not happen very often where the boss is invited for lunch . It is also a good calm environment to discuss  any issues and allow both of you the time to focus on the issues you need to discuss.

Get all your thoughts and emotions in check – before approaching your boss to talk about any type of conflict in the workplace or even with your boss, make sure your get all your thoughts and emotions in order. Better to discuss any issues in a cool and calm way. Never talk badly about co-workers. Rather balanced and objective about the issue which will also help your case.

Be prepared to hear that you are wrong and take advise – Always have respect for other people’s ideas and input on how to solve any conflict situation. Sometimes in the heat of the moment it is hard to back down from your point of view or be able to see another person’s point of view. Always be thankful of any input and advice, and always try to carry out any advice or suggestion given to you. Always give your boss the chance to prove his leadership and try save the conflict. Don’t think you know everything. There might be a bigger picture and things happening behind the scene that you don’t know about or privy to. Always give any conflict time to settle. if it continues, you can always revisit the issue and discuss it further. Remember not all conflicts can be sorted and resolved on the spot.

Make sure that your record is clean – After confronting your boss about a conflict situation with a co-worker, your boss might approach the other party to hear what they have to say about the issue and you. Approaching your boss might force him or her to look into your personal records and behavior.

Never be afraid to admit that is your fault – Whenever there is a conflict I the workplace there is always a good chance hat there is more than one person at fault. If there is any chance that part of the conflict is your fault, don’t be afraid to admit it. Your honestly will be far more appreciated and it is more likely that your side of the story will be accepted.

The following tips will help you handle conflict more effectively in the workplace:

  • Defining what constitutes acceptable behavior is a positive step in avoiding conflict.
  • While conflict is not always preventable, the secret to conflict resolution is in fact conflict prevention where possible.
  • Pick your battles and avoid conflict for the sake of conflict.
  • Always stay calm and your composure.
  • Focus on the future, not the past.
  • Be open to compromise.
  • Hidden within almost every conflict is the potential for a tremendous teaching and learning opportunity.
  • Approach conflict with an open mind.
  • Listen to understand.
  • Give everyone the chance to speak and air their views.
  • Consider what might have caused the conflict.
  • State your case tactfully.
  • Attack the problem, not the person.
  • Try to cut the conflict off in its early stages.
  • Be mindful of your language.
  • Be sure the problem is resolved.
  • Avoid the blame game.

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