No matter which line of work you are in, everyone gets frustrated in their job at times. If you’re not careful, that frustration can get you in multitudes of conflict with your colleagues. Thankfully, there are tactics that can be used to manage anger and resolve workplace disagreements without having a fight.
Take a deep breath.
The worst mistake you can make in a workplace conflict is to lose your temper and exchange angry shouts that you’ll regret later. When you start to feel angry at work, take a few deep breaths and walk away for a moment so that you give immediate feelings and reactions time to wear off. Make an excuse to step outside the office and grab coffee or run a quick errand. Think the situation through, and consider the consequences of losing your temper. Once you’ve set aside strong emotions, you’ll be more objective and can project a professional demeanor.
Let all parties speak.
When conflict arises, don’t use aggressive verbal attacks to silent your opponent. It won’t lead to a mature discussion and won’t score you any credibility as a tactful professional. Refusing to consider the situation from your colleague’s point of view never leads to a lasting solution. Instead, let your coworker speak about the issues that really matter to them and try to learn something from the situation. Your ears are the best tool to resolve conflict quickly without anxiety.
Pick your battles.
If there’s tension between you and a colleague, you’re more tempted to become defensive whenever you’re forced to interact with that person. It’s important to refrain from picking fights every time you have a difference of opinion. Doing so will only generate a sense of hostility and make it more difficult for any work to get completed. If you choose your battles wisely and make compromises on trivial matters, you’ll be more likely to win on the issues that do matter to you.
Use business-like language.
Think carefully before you speak in a heated argument. It’s easy to slip up and make personal attacks at the coworker you’re in disagreement with. Just remember, if you say something mean you can’t take it back, and it’ll make you look worse than it does them. Using judgmental language will automatically put the other person in defensive mode, and using sarcasm often generates resentment. Try to remain objective and professional.
Don’t take it personally.
Because so much time and energy is put into your job, it’s easy to internalize disagreements that arise. Try your best not to take someone’s conflicting opinion as a negative assessment of you as a person. It’s natural for coworkers to have different feelings and perspectives on how projects should be completed. Just because someone has a different opinion, doesn’t mean they’re challenging your abilities as a coworker. If you’re able to welcome constructive criticism, you can turn conflict into a great learning situation. However, if the other person is making blatant personal attacks on you, it’s best just to walk away.
Repeat what is being said.
It’s human nature to only want to hear your side of the story when engaged in an argument. Often you’re so focused on making sure that everyone knows your viewpoint is the right one that you don’t even listen to what the person on the other side of the conflict is trying to say. This is known as us-versus-them mentality. Instead, take a step back and listen to the other person’s perspective. Paraphrase what you think they’re trying to say back to them to make sure you truly understand. A good percentage of the time, you’ll realize you were both saying the same thing in different ways. And even if you weren’t arguing the same point, your willingness to listen will develop a mutual respect.
Holding onto a grudge isn’t going to have any positive outcomes in the workplace. Being stubborn will only cause more tension and show colleagues that you have no interest in their side of the story. Because you have to see and work with your coworkers in the future, it’s necessary for you to be open to compromise. Meet in the middle to solve conflict. Even if it means giving up ground on some aspects of your argument, it demonstrates that you aren’t letting emotions dictate your behavior. In the long run, a win-win situation will be the best for everyone involved.
As much as we’d all like to avoid it, conflict will occur in the workplace at some point. It is better that you learn to accept this now so that when conflict does occur you know can calmly deal with it in an effective manner. Don’t let disagreements sit and gather momentum. Address them in a timely fashion because avoiding confrontation will only make the situation worse.
If you follow these steps to manage your anger and avoid screaming tirades, you’ll keep your reputation as a calm, well-balanced professional. However, if the conflict in your current workplace is unmanageable, RealStreet Staffing is here to help. Our team of qualified recruiters can help you land a new position in the architecture and engineering fields. Contact us today to jumpstart your job search.