Three tips for conflict resolution in the workplace

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Photo by trawin
It's Friday, and that means that cubicle warriors from all over are looking for ways to kill time until the weekend.

Maybe you're watching YouTube videos of a gentleman named Namskie from Minnesota, covering hit pop songs from the '80s (and if you weren't already, you are now. Bam). Or, maybe  you're hanging out on Facebook, stalking checking out pictures of your ex-girlfriend's wedding with some dude who looks a lot like Namskie. Both excellent options.

But instead of spending all day, hypnotized by the mysterious and sensual aura of Namskie, I've decided to offer a few more tips about a real-life workplace issue that office dwellers like myself deal with on a daily basis; conflict resolution.

Whether it's your obnoxious middle-aged boss who spends all day calling you to ask if you got the email he just sent, the co-worker who constantly backstabs you during board meetings or the awesome Asian guy who starts fights with people because he hates MySpace (Author's note: Damnit, Namskie. I wish I could quit you), workplace conflict is inevitable. However, if you follow these three simple tips, you will be able to properly defuse the situation and avoid a potentially career-threatening confrontation.

Tip #1: Put your feelings in an email

About two weeks ago, I had a conflict with a co-worker (for the sake of this story, let's call him Craig T. Nelson from Coach) that left me with some harsh feelings. That's why I sat down and let those emotions pour out into an email addressed to Craig, sort of a pseudo-release valve for my frustration. Then, once I had completed it, I went back and deleted the email so as not to do anything rash that I may regret later.

Then, I found a constructive way to take my mind off of the situation by sharpening my employee ID badge into a knife-like object, often referred to as a "shiv." Sometimes, physical activity is the perfect way to relax.

Tip #2: Talk through your issue with a co-worker

Even after the email/shiv exercise, I was still feeling upset over the conflict with Craig T. That's why I looked to a trusted co-worker to lend a sympathetic ear and help me think through the situation, so that I could see both sides of the disagreement. Sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes and ears to help you gain a little perspective on your problems.

Also, once we were done talking, I went outside and punched right through C.T. Nelson's car window, just like John Kreese did at the beginning of Karate Kid 2. Obviously this was an accident.

Tip #3: Tackle the conflict head-on

Finally, after trying numerous methods of conflict resolution, I decided that I needed to face the situation head-on by having a frank, honest conversation with the Coach about our dispute. We each stated our feelings in a clear, non-threatening fashion, and ultimately realized that we had to agree to disagree. While it may not be the ideal solution, this method allows you to gain a sense of closure and move past your issues. That's exactly what I did.

After that, I sort of blacked out for a couple of hours. When I woke up, I was completely naked and had "Hayden Fox = SLUT" written in blood on my chest. I'm not really sure what happened, but I assure you it was not my fault.

Conflict can be a tough thing to deal with, especially when it comes from someone within the workplace. But with the right strategy and a little self-control, you can overcome anger and make yourself a more relaxed, effective conflict manager.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled video of Namskie covering Soulja Boy songs.


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