You try to like everybody you work with, but sometimes you just can’t. There’s the guy who spends more time flirting with girls than doing his job, and the girl who comes in late and complains about her hours while you’re the one picking up the slack! Ignoring problems with a coworker may be an okay solution for a little while, but eventually, you’re going to get sick of staying late because of someone else, or getting blamed for something you didn’t do. When it’s time to solve your conflict with a coworker, check out these tips!
Talk it Out
Believe it or not, most conflicts end just by talking about them. Sometimes all it takes for your coworker to stop doing something that’s bothering you is to let them know it’s bothers you! When you and your coworker are alone, bring up the issue respectfully to ensure your coworker does not feel as if they’re being attacked or accused of anything. Ask to have a discussion about the issue, and listen to what they have to say. Take their thoughts as seriously as you take yours.
If you’re unsure how to start a conversation about a conflict with a coworker: check out these starting lines:
“I have noticed that….”
“I was wondering if….”
“Would it be okay if…”
“Would you mind if…”
More Tips on Having a Discussion with a Coworker About a Conflict
Don’t interrupt. Even if you think what they’re saying is completely wrong, let them finish speaking before you say anything.
Avoid using negative language and name calling, as you may come off accusatory or hostile.
When possible, use “we” instead of “you” to imply you’re working as a team as opposed to against one another.
Give them your full attention and ask that they give you theirs. This means no texting, digging through your wallet, etc.
Keep your voice calm and even in tone.
Give them space. You don’t want to threaten them by getting too close and in their face.
Watch your body language. Try to avoid making fists with your hands and rolling your eyes.
Avoid using terms like “right” and “wrong.” Instead, place an emphasis on how your coworker’s actions make you feel.
Propose solutions. If you have a problem with something your coworker is doing, they may be more receptive to correcting it if there are solutions on the table. If they give a solution you don’t like, be prepared to offer another solution as opposed to simply rejecting theirs.
Keep the conversation between the two of you.
When Talking Isn’t Enough
While most conflicts can be handled just by talking about them, that’s not always the case. Should you attempt to talk out your problems and fail, check out these other tips:
Ask the scheduling manager if you can be put on separate shifts.
Limit your interactions with this coworker.
Speak to the manager about your problem, especially if your coworker is doing something illegal, or something that could potentially get you or another coworker into trouble.