As I’m sure we all know, tensions can get tight in the workplace, and often we don’t have the time to sit down and slowly, methodically, and patiently discuss the situation so that all parties can work productively and harmoniously together (although, this is how disputes should be handled so remember, your HR Manager can be the resource you need to get started).

So, this week we bring you some tips on how to diffuse tension before it gets out of control. When you are approach by an irate co-worker, keep these tips in mind:

First, listen! We are always quick to be defensive right of the bat, or to start listing the reasons why the other person is wrong.  Understanding the other person’s point of view is the key to solve the dispute; so listen very carefully. When you respond, do so in a way that will encourage a solution, such as “What needs to happen for this issue to be resolved?” Choose your words carefully; once you say something there is no turning back. It’s okay to disagree with the person, but it is not okay to engage in a non-professional manner. Don’t take their words personally, this is a work issue, and instead focus on that solution. When responding back, respond with a lower tone of voice and stay calm. By doing so, the person most likely will lower their voice and calm down. Then, you can both discuss the matter more efficiently (saving time and energy) and find a solution.

Maintaining a level of professionalism ensures that both parties will be treated with respect. Always remember that when you feel you’re not being treated with respect that you typically want the parties involved to hear you out, right? Keep that in mind, stay calm during the conflict, and then approach the matter with the only goal being one of a successful resolution. Not only will the tension be diffused, but all those involved will feel good about their awesome team work skills!

Mariela Ramirez, Staffing Associate

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