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MANAGING WORKPLACE CONFLICT

Why Deal With Workplace Conflict?

Tips for Managing Workplace Conflict

Direct Discussion — How to Approach a Co-worker

Why We Avoid Dealing With Conflict

Are All Conflicts the Result of Personality Clashes or Poor Behaviour

Conflict Styles

Communicating in Conflict

Managing Anger — Yours and Others

Handling Criticism

Being Hard on the Problem — Not the Person

The Role of Assumptions, Perceptions and Expectations in Conflict

Let's Talk (pdf)


Are all conflicts the result of personality clashes or poor behaviour?

While conflicts are impacted by our personality and ways of approaching work and others, systemic issues often play a large role in creating conflicts. Systemic issues or workplace problems exist when an employee, pursuing a legitimate work related goal or task, bumps up against another employee pursuing a legitimate work related goal or task.

The "bump" can result from:

These are just a few examples of the many ways that working to get our job done can place us in conflict with another worker — trying to get their job done. While the personalities of the employees may impact how the conflict is addressed, the conflict is inherent or predictable in the situation.

Examples of systemic problems include:

It is always important to separate the person from the problem. Recognizing that the problem is a work issue, not a personal issue, can be the first step in addressing the conflict in a productive manner. Identifying it as a work issue opens avenues for solving the problem which are not personal, such as:

The focus becomes the problem (e.g. lack of procedures or guidelines, needed resources, departmental communication, etc.) and not the individual. For more information on depersonalizing the problem, see Being Hard on the Problem — Not the Person.

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