Postdate: 06 April 2018
Do you spend most of your time at work? Then it can happen that irritations grow into a huge rift between you and a colleague. This costs time and energy, and it demands a solution.
Being genuinely kind is acting kind
On average, you spend about 8 hours per day at work. This means that you automatically spend a lot of time with colleagues, and often in a fixed space. This may result that, after some time, you come up with reasons why you don't like a certain colleague. Someone can be too loud, arrogant, pedantic, whiny, or he or she chews annoyingly. Naturally, this can raise irritations and it can even lead to conflicts that undermine the work atmosphere. A recent study of the American Psychological Association shows that being kind to colleagues also improves your own day. This does not just mean that you tolerate that one 'whining colleague', but also that you actively try your best to make his or her day better. Something small like getting coffee, asking a sincere question, or a personal chat over lunch can already make a big difference. You will get better acquainted with the colleagues you didn't know so well yet.
‘90% of conflicts at work do not come from something that was said, but something that wasn’t said’
Communication is key
Are you sensitive to conflicts, then it is first of all essential to look at your own behaviour and situation. Do you get enough rest after work? Can you do the things that give you energy often enough? When this is not the case, then it will result in a sensory overload, and this can lead to conflicts arising quicker. Your manner of communication is linked to this. Your personality dictates whether you can easily overcome or master your emotions, or not. Are you inclined to avoid conflicts, do you ignore them, or do you rather look for the confrontation? There will always be colleagues with different opinions, so listening well, empathy, forgiveness, and openness are important to come to a compromise. Are you capable of being understanding, can you listen without having assumptions and thinking 'yes, but...', and do you not use the attack approach when you are criticised?
There is no such thing as winning a conflict. It is all about finding a solution as quickly as possible. The sooner you remain friendly, trying to understand someone's motives, and finding the middle way, the sooner the conflict will be gone or can be avoided completely.