5 Easy Ways To Handle Conflict at Work

Originally posted on Inc.

Because we’re all human, conflict in the workplace is inevitable and even beneficial, since without conflict there’s usually no progress.  However, within a team, resolving conflict requires leadership, patience and self-awareness.

Here are some strategies that I’ve found effective both for myself and for those around me.

1. Pick your battles carefully.

However, it’s debilitating to yourself and your team if you turn everything into a conflict.  Some battles just aren’t worth fighting.

Example: Some sales organizations have so much internal competition that they end up alienating customers who wonder why the salespeople can’t work together to get something done.

2. Admit it when you’re wrong.

Some leaders mistakenly believe that they must win every argument or else “lose face.” In fact, wooden-headedness is a sign of weakness while being willing to be convinced you’re wrong is a sign of strength.

Example: I think that Donald Trump’s inability to admit error–even after he’s said something obviously stupid–is a character flaw that suggests insecurity rather than self-confidence.

3. Lose a battle to win the war.

What’s important isn’t winning each battle but achieving your long-term goal. Many people are easier to handle and easier to redirect when they think they’ve “won” and gotten their own way.

Example: In the game of chess, the only way for an evenly matched player to gain the advantage is to sacrifice a piece (a “loss”) in order to create a favorable board position that will eventually allow the first player to win.

continue reading… Inc.

by Geoffrey James

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