How to Avoid Common Causes of Conflict in the Workplace

By Rachel Summers , last updated June 8, 2011

Although there are many causes of conflict in the workplace, there are simple ways to avoid them. Maintaining a cordially work environment is important, as it prevents unnecessary disagreements and animosity, thus making workers happier and more efficient.

Common Causes

Conflict in the workplace usually stems from a few common causes. These include conflicting styles of communication, conflicting personalities and values, and conflicting roles and workplace policies. Although many of these common causes are fundamental and nearly unchangeable differences between people, there is a lot you can do to avoid conflict because of them, as well as ways to resolve conflict quickly is it does arise.

How to Avoid Conflict

There are a few techniques that you can use to avoid conflict. Ultimately, most conflict occurs because workers get angry or impatient with one another and do not know how to express that constructively. The best way to avoid conflict is to follow a few basic steps. First, think before you speak. Do not say anything without realizing the potential consequences first. Many conflicts can be avoided by polite silence rather than confrontation. Second, listen to what your coworkers or boss has to say. Sometimes it may be criticism, but take it constructively without argument and use it to improve your work performance. Third, maintain a friendly demeanor. Compliment your coworkers and do not point out their shortcomings unless they are critical and you can express that to your coworkers in a nice, constructive manner. Fourth, if you see a volatile situation that is not being taken care of adequately, take charge instead of criticizing the work that is already being done. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, NEVER overreact. Overreacting to any situation can cause conflicts at work that are entirely unnecessary. Do your best to stay calm and keep things in perspective.

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