The workplace is where we spend most of our waking hours. It is an important facet of our lives because it is from our work where we are able to earn money so we can buy the things we both want and need. Our jobs also give us the opportunity to pursue our interests. The money we earn from our jobs allows us to save and invest. It enables us to donate to causes that are closest to our hearts.
When we go to the office every day, it becomes inevitable that we interact with our colleagues and bosses. Since we work with them and see them every day, we have to foster good relationships with each other and strive to get along with them. Unfortunately, smooth working relationships in the office don’t always happen. Office gossip can be very tough and politics in the workplace can even cause people to leave their jobs. It isn’t a pretty scene but you need to be able to weather workplace politics if you want to survive in the jungle that is the corporate world. However, it is also equally important to win workplace arguments to prove your worth in what can be a ruthless working environment.
Types of Arguments in the Workplace
There are various types of arguments that could happen in the workplace. In this section, we will deal with each of them.
Clash of Ideas.
One of the most common causes of workplace conflict is the clash of ideas between colleagues. To a certain extent, this is the healthy kind of conflict since the issue is confined to business ideas or actions.
Clash of Personalities.
The more difficult kind of conflict but one which is more common in today’s workplaces is the clash of personalities. Here, the issue is not with the idea but with the people behind the idea. The issues about personalities are varied but can range from something as trivial as not liking the smell of a coworker or one as serious as neglecting his share of the responsibility or blaming someone for a wrong that he did. This type of clash can start office gossip which has the power to destroy careers. If you are the subject of this type problem, it’s important to nip it in the bud right away before it rears its ugly head and ruins your reputation.
Clash between you and your Boss.
Perhaps one of the most difficult clashes that can occur in the workplace is one that can occur between you and your boss. In many cases, you as the employee have to be the one to make the necessary changes in order to keep your job. However, bosses do have a point most of the time—this is why they were made superiors in the first place—and what they suggest is often for the good of the company. Of course, there are instances when bosses can be unreasonable and this can be one of the common causes of chronic stress among employees. Conflicts between you and your boss must be handled very well if you want to keep both your sanity and your job.
Tips for Solving Workplace Conflicts
Solving workplace conflicts take a lot of skill and grace. Unlike in the domestic scene which allows you to scream and cry your heart out, norms in the corporate world from on these kinds of behavior during an argument. You need to maintain a certain degree of professionalism if you don’t want to be perceived as weak and unprofessional. If not handled properly, any workplace conflict could escalate and potentially make you lose your job.
The following section will help you solve conflicts and win arguments in the workplace.
For conflicts in the workplace arising from a clash of ideas, keep these things in mind:
1. Realize that everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Even if you feel that your idea is better, you should still listen to what the other person is trying to communicate. Listening is very important because this is where you really get to understand what the other person is trying to say. If you really listen without entertaining any thoughts of quashing your colleague’s idea, you would be surprised at the insight you can gain and perhaps even find a way to fuse both your suggestions.
2. Stick to the issues at hand. If you feel that the argument is already going towards another issue or is already attacking personalities, you should strive to bring it back to the issue under discussion.
3. To win this kind of argument, your goal should be to solve the problem. Even if you should bend your ideas to the other, you should still consider it a win on your part. Remember, the corporate ship works on the basis of team spirit. The victory of one is the victory of all. Learn the value of cooperation.
For conflicts in the workplace arising from a clash of personalities, keep these things in mind:
1. You have to understand that no two individuals are the same. By accepting this fact, you can be more open-minded about how people behave around you. Instead of harboring a grudge against a person for a personality quirk and wasting your energy in the process, you can instead try to get to know him better. This simple gesture may even be the start of a new friendship in the workplace.
2. If, despite your best efforts to reach out, a colleague continues to dislike you, stay civil and neutral. You can’t win against preconceived prejudices. Simply do your work and avoid confrontation as much as possible. In the event of a conflict, identify the issues and stick to them as much as possible. Be reasonable.
3. Keep your feelings to yourself. No matter how much you don’t like the other person, you shouldn’t gossip about them to your office mates. Not only will doing so be unfair to the other, it will also speak badly of you.
For conflicts between you and your boss, keep these things in mind:
1. Don’t meet your boss head-on in the peak of his anger. If he is already shouting, avoid the temptation to do the same no matter how hurt you are. When his anger has subsided and he is willing to listen, explain your reasons for doing or not doing the act that got him so riled up.
2. Stay calm. No matter how scared or angry you are at facing your boss, you should stay calm. If you let your nerves get the better of you, you might end up forgetting what you want to say or saying something else entirely.
3. Be professional. In all your dealings with your boss, you should come prepared. That means doing the necessary research, having your figures right and understanding your presentation like the palm of your hand. Bosses appreciate well-researched presentations. It will also go a long way towards convincing them that you have something worth listening to.
4. If your boss is treating you badly, don’t overreact right away. You should decipher if this is simply how your boss is or if you are being singled out. You don’t have a problem if it is the former but if you find that it is the latter then think if you have some unresolved issues between the both of you. You may also want to consider if it is your attitude that is causing the problem. Perhaps you are constantly absent or you don’t hand in work on time. Before you point an accusing finger at your boss, you may want to examine yourself first.
5. Don’t quit at the smallest sign of conflict with your boss. When you are not anymore eating, drinking or sleeping properly because of workplace problems, do your best to resolve it as early as possible. You could approach your boss respectfully and ask him what his problem is with you. Listen objectively and if you understand that you are being misunderstood, explain your side. Be assertive about this but not aggressive. However, if you realize that your boss has a point then commit to doing the changes he wants you to make. Quitting is not the answer. You will not have only lost the argument if you do, you will also have lost your job as well.
Workplace arguments can drain your energy. Even if you genuinely love your job, constantly dealing with gossip in the office can stress you out to the point of exhaustion. Thus, you should seek to resolve them peacefully early on. Whether the argument is with a colleague or with your boss, finding a resolution is best if you want to continue being productive at work. You can win an argument if you know what the issues are and make teamwork and respect for your colleagues, your boss and the workplace the core of your dealings with everyone.
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