AUTHOR:
Kate T.

DATE:
April 14, 2015

CATEGORIES:
On the Job

READING TIME:
2 minutes

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Diffusing Conflicts in the Office: Basketball Edition

AUTHOR:
Kate T.

DATE:
April 14, 2015

CATEGORIES:
On the Job

READING TIME:
2 minutes

Sports can bring out the most argumentative side of friends and co-workers, as the recent college basketball season may have proven. But a difference in team loyalty doesn't have to create conflict in the office. Even a Purdue and a Cincinnati fan can work together to get the job done.

Emily and David 1

But what if a conflict does happen?

Disagreements can appear even between the most congenial co-workers or in the most enjoyable companies. It could be as small as a co-worker playing music too loudly or as large as a team member missing a deadline (or even the outcome of a game between rival sports teams.)

Emily and David 2

Whatever the cause may be, here are a few tips on how to handle a workplace conflict.

  • Don’t wait. Conflicts will not resolve themselves. If you try to ignore a continual issue, it will damage your productivity and relationships in your job. Address things quickly and directly with the other person involved.
  • Remain calm. Getting angry will only make your co-worker defensive and stop any resolution in its tracks. Tensions are already high during disagreements, so keep your discussion  civil and don’t react with a raised voice or harsh word. If you need a moment to collect yourself, it's OK to say “Can we talk about this later when we’re both in a clearer mindset?”
  • Get perspective. A good way to settle a conflict is to understand the other person’s point of view. Sometimes conflicts can arise from miscommunication or different interpretations of a task, so ask questions to determine if that’s the case. If it isn’t, then you can still figure out your co-worker’s way of thinking to approach a compromise.
  • Address the issue. Accusing or attacking the person won’t help resolve the issue. Stay focused on the real root of the issue. For example, “Could you turn your music off? You’re distracting me.” is not as effective as “Could you wear headphones? Your music makes it hard for me to concentrate.” The first request says the other person is the problem, when really the problem is the volume of the music.

Keep these tips in mind when trying to resolve a conflict in the office. And remember, it’s unusual for co-workers to intentionally try to cause strife. By keeping a level head, you can help deal with a conflict before it gets out of hand.


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Kate T.

Kate is a graduate of Ohio University, where she studied Communication Studies. She now works as a Corporate Recruiter in Dayton, Ohio. She is an expert on corporate life, as she works with the Reynolds summer internship program and teaches business etiquette courses to college students. After work hours, Kate participates in the cornhole league, finds creative outlets for her DIY skills, and enjoys traveling to new places.