Handle Coworker Conflict With Kindness

A man and a woman arguing on a city street.

When you work with people, more likely than not, you will at some time have a problem or disagreement that needs to be addressed.  If you are like most people you dread these types of interactions, as no one really likes conflict with a coworker.

A long time ago, I received good advice when it comes to handling workplace problems. When a problem with a coworker or supervisor comes up that needs to be addressed, WAIT for at least 24 hours to pass or more so you have time to really digest the problem and think about how you could handle it as to not cause further problems.

Now there is always the exception to this rule and that is if someone is causing immediate danger to others or themselves, these issues need to be handled immediately.

Dreading the encounter will not make it go any better, but by taking the time to really think it through and how you can say what needs to be said in the most positive way with the other person’s best interest in mind will make the encounter go better.

Preparation is the key to successfully get the information across to the other person.  You need to really know what the issue is, be able spell it out clearly, and end the encounter on a positive note.

After taking the time to prepare for the meeting ask your coworker for a time to talk, let them know in advance what it is that you want to discuss. This way your coworker can also prepare for the conversation and not be caught by surprise and become defensive immediately.

Take your time, speak kindly and truthfully and remember you are wanting a positive outcome for all involved.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  ~ Mark Twain

For more good information about handling difficult conversations at work check the link below for an article from Harvard Business News.

Handling Difficult Conversations At Work

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