Conflict with a colleague at work – explaining it thoroughly

These colleagues are getting on my nerves! – Psychiatrist advises how to get out of conflicts at work with dignity

First of all, it is worth reconsidering a few common opinions about the conflict, which make the clash unbearable and endless.

  • “Professional conflicts are a necessary evil.” Oops! Let’s take it down a notch. It’s better to look at it another way. Professional conflicts are part of the work process. Completely natural. Conflict simply exists. You don’t have to enjoy it or achieve it, but you don’t have to be dramatic about it either.
  • “We have to defend our point of view!” So … Stop! First of all, even if you do not make your point of view, conflicts can not be avoided. Secondly, it is not necessary to defend your point of view at all. It will change. Knowing how to consciously change your point of view is just the way to solve conflicts.
  • “If you lose control of yourself in conflict, you’ve lost everything.” Smile and show your hands. If you notice that you’ve lost control of yourself, that’s when you’ve already got it back! That’s fine, let’s move on.

The problem with most people is that they forget this and they become a follower of one way of responding. They react automatically! Sometimes this helps, but after a while the response becomes so predictable that potential attackers can turn you into a victim with almost no effort.

See if you can identify the way you usually respond to conflict with co-workers. Do you yell? Do you remain silent? Slam the door? Do you complain to your supervisor? Think back to the last conflict you were involved in and analyze how you handled it.

Now let’s see what other ways to resolve conflict exist. First, the three easiest and most understandable.

3 easy ways to deal with conflict

  • Direct confrontation. Repulsion. This is an extreme way. The easiest and most common. In fact, it should be used when all others have been worked out.

Even if you confront a colleague on a very principled issue, you should remain balanced, give specific examples, and be as accurate as possible. Even if your colleague resorts to sarcasm, insults, or made-up statistics. Your job is to keep moving forward with the clear intention of settling the dispute and regaining control of the situation.

  • Walking away. Running away from the conflict. Avoiding it. For this method to work, you have to remove pejorative assessments of the “concept of withdrawal.” There is no cowardice or loss of face in walking away. We leave consciously. Without reflection. Usually when our direct confrontation has not ended in reconciliation. Without a game of “well, catch up” or “well, take away.

When you leave, you leave. Yes. We write a statement and leave. This is also a way to end a confrontation when the dialogue in the team built destructively, and to cope with the conflict can not otherwise.

  • Negotiations. You try to understand more deeply the position of a colleague and state your point of view in a friendly way.

If we see that a colleague is misinterpreting real events, we just listen first, without rushing to correct him. The time to correct the mistakes of others has not yet come. Then, when he calms down, or the situation changes, you can invite him to see things differently. But the main condition for successful negotiations is your inner sense of freedom. You have the opportunity to say “yes” and “no”.

And one more thing: after you tell your opponent that you want to work out a compromise, discuss it, look at it from both sides, you have to get two people interested in the compromise.

Negotiation is not the art of giving everything away. It is the art of making mutually acceptable deals, of finding a harmonious resolution to the conflict.

Don’t think of negotiation as a ploy or as a way to trade your fear for peace of mind. Negotiation is a meeting of equals, not a competition in sleight of hand. It should come from a sincere desire to solve a problem. Stay balanced, focus on the problem, not your opponent.

2 harder ways.

Now let’s move on to the more subtle matters of doing nothing and deceiving artfully.

  • Doing nothing. This is not waiting for change. Doing nothing is really doing nothing. Doing nothing is one of the best responses when the attack on you makes no articulated sense, when it is absurd. To enter into an argument is to admit the meaning of baseless accusations.
  • Lies. Only let’s dispense with social assessments. We all lie at least 200 times a day (men even a little more often) to gain acceptance and approval. But here we are talking about a way of dealing with conflict. Sometimes it’s a mild distraction: “Oh, what a tie the chief is wearing today, look! What would that mean?” Sometimes it’s creating a smokescreen. Sometimes it’s a lie of salvation: “Why didn’t you call? – I was late this morning, I forgot my phone at home.”

Invent stories, but don’t deceive yourself. It’s not the ultimate solution, it’s just a way to buy time.

Any of the ways of dealing with conflict is only part of communication. A combination of different modes of behavior helps to placate an aggressive colleague and achieve reconciliation.

Don’t forget to watch your emotions. Aggression, fear, irritation, and resentment help us understand what is going on in and around us, but we shouldn’t let feelings guide our actions. Always look for a way to calm down first, and only then – options for conflict resolution.

80 level

This is the hardest way, the top level.

  • Merge. It means to stop dividing people into strangers and your own.

There are two key points at the heart of the merger.

The first is understanding. Do you understand yourself in a conflict situation? How deeply do you understand a colleague who is in conflict with you?

The second is compassion. Or love, which can reduce people’s pain and distress.

What might this look like in simple actions? Agree with your opponent’s right to feel what he or she feels. You don’t have to agree with what he says or thinks. You only share his feelings. Most likely he is wrong, but in his feelings, in his aggressive behavior, he is sincere. That’s why it’s important to join your attacker to get out of his way. This is not a trick. It’s not a “trick.” It’s understanding the roots and nature of his anger. They may not be work-related at all.

If you understand what hurts your coworker, you’re halfway there. All you need next is love in the form of compassion. And you may not make him happy, but your perception of the situation will change fundamentally.

To myself, after all. Aren’t there more interesting things to do than to maintain conflict with a colleague?

Why do conflicts occur?

The reason for them is often hidden in the struggle for rank in one hierarchy or another.

It is worth knowing that humans differ from all other species of living beings in that they participate in several hierarchical systems at once. And we value only those of them, in which we consider ourselves more significant. That’s why, as scientists have found out, social sophistication means bigger brains.

There is no mathematical task that requires as much effort as the task of finding a place in our social hierarchy.

This is a task the mind solves around the clock. It often does it successfully, but one day a conflict comes along, and our internal standards and attitudes (aka, those very principles) can destroy all the objective benefits that a particular rank provides. That’s how it works.

You always have a choice. If you notice that the situation is hopeless, then the way out is somewhere nearby! And it’s always open.

We develop from scratch your personal course or corporate training for your employees

What to do if there is a conflict with a colleague at work: how to avoid problems?

Relationships with colleagues are not always good. Most people have experienced conflicts at work one way or another. As a rule, the conflict may well be resolved after some time, and it is caused by certain reasons – the views on the conduct of the work process did not coincide, for example. Participants in the conflict eventually seek resolution and argue for the sake of finding the “truth”.

However, there is another type of conflict situation, when employees begin to psychologically suppress their colleague in order to get out of the team. This is mobbing, and it has little to do with the usual argumentative situations that are so common in everyday life. Mobbing often has no logical justification.

It is quite possible that coworkers simply dislike you at first sight and seek your dismissal. How to fight it?

A coworker is insulting, rude or raises his voice.

In no case do not let things drift away. Your offender should understand where the boundaries of the permitted. Explain to the man that you just can not yell at you – do it confidently, without a doubt, so that others also saw: you do not give offense.

TIP . You shouldn’t get too personal and behave the same way as a boorish colleague – this will make you look bad. Why spoil your image for the sake of a minute skirmish?

Sometimes it is impossible to resist, but you have to try as hard as you can – in the workplace there is no need to show your emotions and pour out on your colleagues negative, multiplied by insults and profanity.

What to do if you survive from work?

If you occupy not the last position in your organization, there is likely to be someone who claims your place, but is not able to take it in an honest way. That’s why the employee starts doing what he is better at – psychological abuse .

Unfortunately, sometimes this method really works – in the case of emotionally unstable people. A toxic colleague pressures you to get out of yourself. How to resolve this difficult situation, so that you were not suddenly fired because of a complaint or gossip of the offender?

  • The first thing you should pay close attention to is the quality and quantity of the work you do, as well as the observance of deadlines and rules within the team. From now on, you are not allowed to hand in projects late, make major mistakes, be late in the morning, or disregard the dress code. Any of your slip-ups can be used against you. You should keep track of your paperwork and protect the contents of your work computer more securely.
  • If bullying begins to cross the line, it makes sense to contact your boss. Explain to him how things are. It would be great if you bring hard evidence, rather than just complaining about life – rationality in this case is very important. Perhaps the boss will tell you what to do next, or take control of the situation. That way you can at least protect yourself a little bit in this fight.

Our site also has an article about what to do when a boss drives you out of your job.

Acts arrogant.

Yes, it is very annoying, but by and large, what do you care how the other person positions himself in society? Your job is to perform your duties competently and efficiently so that you don’t have to add a phony importance.

IMPORTANT! React to the attacks of a colleague only if it prevents you from concentrating on your work.

The best weapon against a megalomaniac is humor: you let him know that the world does not revolve around his person. A couple of witty responses will make the upstart temper his arrogance and help put his colleague in his place.

Always making jokes.

Humor – it’s great, because with the help of jokes can solve many problems and contradictions. But there is a limit to everything. Endless jokes about your appearance, habits, behavior – a great start for conflict.

Sometimes people just don’t know how to stop in time: after seeing that co-workers reacted well to a previous joke, a person begins to generate the same witticisms, only less successful.

TIP . Stop responding to your colleague’s remarks. Don’t smile politely, don’t keep the conversation going – signal that it’s time to change the topic of conversation.

Provokes an argument

Most conflicts in the workplace arise because of the vague distribution of job responsibilities: everyone feels that he performs extra tasks, but that no one appreciates and does not pay. It happens from time to time.

Another question is how colleagues deal with this problem. Reasonable people immediately sit down at the negotiating table and calmly discuss how to fairly distribute the load.

But sometimes coworkers deliberately make a big deal out of the molehill and force you to participate in the altercation. How to behave in this case?

  • As soon as you lose composure and control over yourself, you lose everything: first of all, the ability to assess soberly what is happening. In such a state you are very helpless, you are easily manipulated, and then you will regret your actions. So calm yourself to the last.
  • Do not hurry with the answer. Always wait a short pause before you say something. As the saying goes, a word is not a bird.
  • Control your voice. You should not make your voice tremble or sound overly aggressive. Choose the calm intonation of a person who is impossible to get out of his mind. The faster the speech, the less they listen to you – the colleague sees in front of him an insecure and timid employee who is easily intimidated.

Clinging and picking on little things

It happens that a colleague gives you no peace. He constantly nags you about the smallest things – and this colleague can be either a man or a woman. You ask yourself why he does it … and you do not find an answer. Here are some tips.

  • Act as naturally as possible, at ease, as if nothing is happening. Don’t try to intrigue or pit other workers against your enemy. Hating your coworkers is the worst thing you can do.
  • Be emphatically polite and courteous . This makes the offender very angry, but he does not have anything to say to you, because you are so nice! And you can also show that to stoop to petty squabbles – it is absolutely not your level.
  • Learn a few simple phrases in advance, which you can say automatically: “Are you dissatisfied with something?”, “Yes, I absolutely understand you,” and others. This will help you pay less attention to another meaningless dialogue.

Setting you up in front of your superiors.

If this has not happened yet, try to understand what kind of person is capable of meanness. As a rule, these people are very ambitious, inconspicuous, secretive, seeking to be closer to the boss.

You can easily identify them among your acquaintances. It’s better to stay away from them: do not discuss other colleagues, comment on the boss’s actions (especially in a negative way), carefully monitor the safety of your documents and passwords.

IMPORTANT! If you have already been set up – well, try to prove that it wasn’t your fault. Surely you will be able to find “physical” evidence.

It is not easy to do, and you will for a long time will pursue a sense of frustration, but you need to pull yourself together and calmly take steps to ensure that the bad behavior did not happen again in the near future.

A little conversation with the director can help – if you are on a good account, you will be definitely listened to. I recommend to look at the article on how to behave with the boss.

How to avoid conflicts and protect yourself from evil employees?

  • The first rule – do not mix office life with home life, do not be frank with your colleagues. These are just people who work with you under the same roof and have certain ambitions – to some extent they always see you as a competitor.
  • Clearly define your responsibilities: for clarity, you can even print out a list and hang it above the workplace so that there are no unnecessary questions.
  • Do not involve others in acute conflict, if it concerns a very small group of people. This is a very contagious “disease”, and it will not lead to anything good.
  • Try to sincerely find an approach to each offender. You do not have to love them, adore them, go to see them. It is not necessary. Enough that you can comfortably exist in the same space and respect each other.
  • In an effort to protect themselves, do not become too closed person. No one forbids you to have a discussion with co-workers, to argue about new projects – sometimes it’s even useful. The main rule is not to insult your colleagues and never start an “attack” yourself.

Useful video

I suggest you watch a video about the laws of communication at work:

Life in a team is not easy: we have to make compromises, develop emotional intelligence to understand the psychology of people. Treat it with a dose of positivity: indeed, where else will you learn so deftly to understand the characters and motives for actions? That’s how your life experience and wisdom grows.

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