Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

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Conflict resolution without bringing in the boss
Not only will cooperatively resolving differences in the workplace allow you to get back to work without institutional hassle, but might also foster a stronger bond of trust and respect between you and your co-workers.

Conflict is a reality of the workplace. Even in the most easygoing places of work, peers are going to have disagreements. Often, conflict is brought to management, as it should be for cases of harassment, discrimination or other serious accusations. However, many conflicts can be resolved between peers. Not only will cooperatively resolving differences in the workplace allow you to get back to work without institutional hassle, but might also foster a stronger bond of trust and respect between you and your co-workers. Below are five key rules to follow when trying to resolve conflict in your workplace.

1. Respect Yourself

If you feel uncomfortable with something that someone else is saying or doing, let them know. When you have the chance to speak with them privately, calmly and respectfully, tell them that they made you uncomfortable. If your reason is not too personal, you could also tell them why their words or actions upset you.

2. Don’t Assume

You know what they say about assumptions, so live by the old adage and don’t assume anything about anyone. People cannot be all knowing; perhaps your co-worker’s flippancy was not out of maliciousness, but ignorance. Give him a chance to hear you out; maybe a simple discussion will be all that it takes to resolve the issue.

3. Stay Calm

Don’t get defensive or accusatory, even if your co-worker gets angry or defensive himself. You won’t solve anything by adding to the fight. If necessary, calmly ask him to meet with you again at another time, so he can gather his thoughts and have a dialogue with you about the issue.

4. Listen

This is the hard part. It’s easy to talk, and hard to listen, but a conversation is key to putting this issue to bed. Your co-worker might feel pressure to do or say certain things, and while you may not like it, it’s important that you hear him out. A healthy discussion is the only way to reach a fair compromise. You may not get everything you want out of this discussion, but if you can come to an agreement, then you can move forward.

5. Follow Through

Whatever solution you agree upon with your co-worker, follow through with it and keep your word. Moving past an issue means both parties have to show good faith and trust and support one another.

By using these five rules, you may be able to not only resolve issues, but also strengthen the bond you have with your peers and create a friendlier and healthier workplace. However, if you find that you cannot come to a resolution with another, or you feel that a co-worker’s behavior is either offensive or hurtful, going to management is still a trusted way to solve problems. Just remember that small problems can be solved much easier and more quickly if you can work it out with your peers first.