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Solving Conflicts at Work

Verna Austria 12.10.2012

Encountering conflicts at work is a normal part of life but how a person deals with it is the real measure of that person’s character.  Having a chance to work in advertising, academe, corporate, virtual and executive office in the Philippines had allowed me to gain a broad perspective on how work-related problems and misunderstandings can be settled constructively provided the two parties at opposing sides of the issue are driven to confront it and search for possible solutions.

At most times, how the boss (or someone at the highest rank) deals with the conflict situation would reverberate how the solution is reached.  In trouble-shooting, the simple way, experts say, is always the best.  Along that line, here is a helpful guide:

·         If there is a problem with your co-worker, don’t go around the bush. Don’t be sarcastic nor sound mysterious. Tell the other person with a straight, unflinching face the “offence” committed and don’t let her second-guess what you think and feel.

·         Explain why what the other person did was not right and outline ways to correct the mistake and thus improve the work.

·         Talk calmly, clearly, and honestly.  Allow the erring person to explain her/his side.  Listen objectively.  Nothing should be left unsaid after the discussion.

·         Then move on. Don’t linger feeling bad or treating her/him distantly. Work like how you used to.

·         Be consistent with your statement. If you tell your colleague one thing, it is not fair for her/him to hear otherwise given a different circumstance.

·         Don’t involve other people in the office over issues not related to them. Say, if there is a problem about the conduct of one staff with a particular client, discuss the matter with that person alone and resolve it together. There is no need for a third party to get dragged.

·         Maintain a positive attitude and learn from the mistakes of your colleague or staff.  Every problem addressed and resolved offers invaluable learning opportunities.




Image Source: Stuart Miles/

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