Conflict is a natural occurrence when people spend a lot of time together. Perhaps this is even truer in a work environment. While ideally everyone would like to get along most, if not all of the time, the reality is conflict is likely to emerge in the workplace at some point. Probably on a regular basis. This generally isn't a problem, because conflict can lead to new solutions, but when the conflict is constant and ongoing without any sort of resolution or innovation resulting from it, the clashing of personalities could develop into a more serious problem.
Working in an office that is riddled with conflict every day can be stressful. This type of atmosphere can contribute to poorer performance, lack of initiative, frustration and, if present for the long-term, it can even lead to personal health issues. Unfortunately, you cannot control what others do, but you do have power over yourself and your own actions. Surviving each day can turn out to be difficult, but by strategizing and changing your own routine habits you can increase your chances of having an easier time getting through each day.
It is not easy working with people who are continuously at odds and have no desire to compromise or find resolution. What should you do if you are working in this sort of environment?
5 Tips for Surviving in an Office Filled with Conflict
1, Avoid Making Contributions to the Negativity
Typically, negativity breeds additional pessimism. It can really be contagious. Not to mention it can be difficult to keep out of a situation at work if everyone around you tends to get involved. Dwelling on the issues won't resolve them, but placing a focus on the positive can have an effect on colleagues. This too can be contagious. Instead of fueling the conflict with more negativity, take an optimistic approach to the conflict, it may just help co-workers begin to become more positive too. Not everyone will take the positive bait, but even if a few people do, life should get a little easier. If anything, your inner-self will feel better even if some of your colleagues refuse to look for positive resolution.
2. Leave Conflict at the Job
After a day of office politics, it is often hard to leave those problems behind at the workplace. Many people go home and those problems at work weigh heavily on their minds, plaguing their psyche. One of the best survival coping strategies is to leave problems behind and do not give them another thought until you arrive back at work the next day. Close the office door and leave all that stuff behind.
Sometimes it is better to simply agree to disagree. Or just walk away from the issue, even if just temporarily, to let things cool down a bit.
Bringing issues home prevents the mind from getting a rest from office conflict and this can be very burdensome and stressful. It can also impact the quality of your home life. This is not to say you should not talk about your job off-hours ever but try to leave the stressors behind whenever possible, this way your mind catches a reprieve and does not wear down your mental health over the course of time. Everyone needs a break sometimes, take advantage of it when you come off the clock.
3. Stay Out of It
Often this is easier said than done, however, trying to stay out of the conflict, especially any issues which do not directly impact your job, can help reduce some of the stress associated with office politics. If you are not directly involved, why take on a conflict that you may not be able to be a part of the solution anyway? (Perhaps unless it is not personal in nature and you can provide a work solution.)
4. Take Hearsay with a Grain of Salt
Office gossip only leads to more problems and additional conflict. It is a wise practice to stay out of idle gossip, especially the kind of talk that is related to hearsay. If the conflict stems between people that have nothing to do with actual work, but is more due to gossip related issues, perpetuating the problem by contributing is only an additional obstacle to a resolution.
It is always a good idea to avoid full-blown arguments in the workplace. It's always best to aim for peaceful resolution that does not escalate to shouting. Additionally, staying out of situations that involve gossip or other entanglements is also a positive approach.
5. Carefully Choose Your Words
In any type of conflict, it is a good idea to carefully choose your words before speaking. Reacting with harsh words is more likely to escalate any office divergences rather than help to solve them. Being proactive in nature is often a better route to take because it allows us to process and think about any given situation, resulting in clearer thinking. Besides, speaking cautiously is likely going to get a point across in a better fashion and one that isn't combative.
[ Related reading: What Soft Skills Do Employers Look for in New Employees? ]
Surviving in an office filled with conflict is often a challenging situation, especially if it turns into a toxic environment. However, by keeping focus and not getting too caught up emotionally up in office politics, you can reduce the amount of negative personal effects experienced. Additionally, being a calming and proactive presence in the workplace can also help diffuse some of the problems that are generating the ongoing conflict. In this respect, you can help both yourself and perhaps even your colleagues as well. In the end, focus can be put on resolutions to the issues rather than finding a way to survive each day.
[ Related Reading: Unprofessional Ways to Quit a Job ]