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Workplace Conflicts & How to Resolve Them

"When communicating with a colleague, try being as active a listener as possible to avoid missing something vital in what they tell you."

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“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” (John 13: 34-35). By these words, we are commanded by Our Lord to love our fellow man.

This, of course, applies to the people we work with all day on a daily basis. And that might seem challenging at times. After all, to most of us they are just co-workers. Even though some of them might become long-term friends there’s a good chance most will remain only workplace companions, colleagues in business, and little more than friendly acquaintances.

Still, one doesn’t need to be chummy with all your workplace acquaintances in order to exercise Christian charity. Here are a few tips to keep you level-headed and quick to kindness to avoid and relieve tension that inevitably arises in the workplace from time to time.

Be An Active Listener

Many times, things become heated simply due to poor communication. When communicating with a colleague, try being as active a listener as possible to avoid missing something vital in what they tell you.

What does this mean? Simply, it means paying close attention to their words, body language, and showing them that you are interested in what they have to say. This could mean asking for further clarification or turning your phone off or pausing what you’re doing to listen to them in that exact moment.

Identify Common Ground

Ok, so your co-worker and you still don’t see eye to eye. But you’re not upset, he or she isn’t upset, and you want to keep your differences from escalating. To do this, identify common ground between you. This does three things: 1) It promotes a healthy problem-solution mentality, 2) it exercises a collaborative approach to a problem, and 3) it facilitates the mindset of compromise and agreement.

Collaborate on a Solution

As a good follow up to the previous heading, this develops that culture of collaboration in the workplace. The best way to avoid conflict to begin with is to set aside time to bounce off ideas, share thoughts and input, and gain a variety of perspectives. After all, most businesses that thrive usually encourage collaboration. (Some companies known for their collaborative culture include Pixar, Southwest Airlines, and Slack).

Involve a Mediator

So, sometimes matters don’t always get resolved despite our best efforts. That’s alright! Should you find that your attempts at an agreeable outcome have proved fruitless, don’t be afraid to address the situation and “loop in” a mediator.

Having a third party can provide that additional input needed to make a decision or bring everyone into agreeable terms. Whether it’s a third co-worker or a supervisor, don’t be afraid of bringing them into the discussion! After all, you are all there for the same purpose: to do your job well and keep things professional.

To Wrap It Up

Remember, the workplace is not always going to be rosy. As long as you are in the office (or even working remotely with Zoom meetings), you will have challenging moments arise. How you handle it will exemplify the sort of professional you want to be. If you keep these 4 basic points in mind, approaching every situation with an attitude of Christian charity and professional conduct, you really cannot err.

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