Sometimes, no matter how much you love the work you do, you might still end up hating your job because of the people you work with. Co-workers can make a big difference in the overall work environment, and it’s never pleasant when you dread going into the office every day because there’s tension in the air.
Maybe you have one co-worker who says inappropriate things. Maybe you’re being micromanaged. Or, several people might have opposing views and tend to gossip about each other.
Whatever is causing the tension in your workplace, it’s not sustainable. It won’t take long for it to become a toxic environment. That can create a lot of stress and even affect your mental well-being.
So, what can you do to resolve conflicts at work?
Practice Healthy Communication
Often, workplace conflicts begin and escalate due to a lack of effective communication. When people don’t talk about their problems, it can create even more tension. Rumors get started. Things get misinterpreted or misunderstood. Assumptions are made.
While it might not always be easy to directly approach the person you’re in conflict with, it’s one of the best things you can do to (hopefully) clear the air as quickly as possible. Express your concerns and opinions tactfully and respectfully.
Don’t forget to practice active listening, too. Communication is a two-way street. If you expect someone at work to be respectful of what you have to say, give them the same listening ear in return. It might be easier to come to an understanding than either of you think.
Find Out Where You Agree
You might have more in common with the person you’re in conflict with than you realize. Identify points of agreement, so you can start on more positive ground with each other. Sometimes, agreeing together on even one thing can make it easier to come to a compromise on other things.
Once you know where you agree, you can start to discuss your disagreements with a different perspective. Be willing to compromise and ask that they do the same, so you can meet in the middle, even if you don’t agree on everything.
Develop a Plan
No one wants to work in a tense environment. Even if you don’t necessarily get along with someone, discuss creating a plan that will allow you to work together without conflict. Start by focusing on the biggest conflict and how you can get through it together.
Set small goals, focus on the future, and make sure to have regular discussions to “check-in” on how your plan is going.
Keep Growing and Building
As you set small goals with the person you’re in conflict with and you start to see success, you’ll both be more motivated to keep moving forward. You’ll see that it’s possible to work together and “get along,” even if it’s only on certain things.
Seeing that you can compromise on those things will make it easier to see a future working together with less tension.
Take Care of Yourself
Even if you can’t get the person you’re in conflict with to agree, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to practice self-care. Get enough sleep. Journal and meditate. Practice mindfulness. Exercise.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. If you’re tired and feeling down when you go to work, you’re likely to see things from a negative perspective. It will be much harder to ease tension and resolve conflicts if you’re bogged down by stress.
If you’re really struggling with workplace tension and it’s already starting to affect your mental health, consider talking to a professional. Working with a therapist can help you learn how to ease stress and anxiety at work, and might help you open up to new ideas that will make it easier to resolve conflicts in the future. Contact us to learn more about anxiety treatment or job support.