Face it: You won’t always agree with your coworkers. Clashes are inevitable. Follow these suggestions to take the sting out of conflict:
- Assume the best. Act as if your coworker wants the best outcome. Don’t involve your emotions by imagining ulterior motives.
- Find the facts. Don’t charge into battle with incomplete information. When you’re sure you possess all the facts, proceed on the assumption that the coworker doesn’t have access to the same material.
- Seek advice. Talk to another trusted coworker who can understand both your position and the coworker you are conflicting with. Choose someone you trust to keep your confidences and who will be willing to play devil’s advocate to test your position’s strength.
- Play the system. If your coworker is used to making his or her own decisions within certain parameters, don’t try to force the person to do things your way.?Be realistic in the solutions you propose, and don’t expect too much from others.
- Speak persuasively. Talk about how your proposed solution benefits both of you and the team as a whole.
- Stand firm. Don’t abandon your position. If the other person doesn’t agree to your terms, you may need to bring in a mediator, your boss perhaps, to help you come to a resolution.
— Adapted from How to Be a Star at Work, Robert E. Kelley, www.kelleyideas.com.