Leadership

What to do right away if you have conflict at your office

The workplace can provide the perfect setting for conflict. With so many people who have varying interests and expectations, it's easy to see how disagreements may arise.

When faced with "workplace drama," your first reaction may be to point the finger at the other person. But what you should do immediately after a conflict is take a look at yourself and reflect on what you did wrong, says Jody Foster, psychiatrist and co-author of "The Schmuck in My Office: How to Deal Effectively With Difficult People at Work."

"It's incredibly important to realize and internalize that people don't set out to be disruptive," Foster tells CNBC Make It. "Take a step back and ask why it's bothering you so much."

When you're faced with conflict it's important to recognize what role you're playing in fanning the flames. "You must always ask yourself what, if any, contribution you may be making to the situation," says Foster. "Are you overreacting because of something about you?"

The next step is to look at how frequently you're involved in a workplace argument. If you're consistently the common denominator it may suggest that you're the one who's at fault.

"If in workplace after workplace, you can't get along with your coworkers, something is wrong," says Foster. The issue could be the office setting, company culture or you're in a field that you're not passionate about. Whatever the issue, says Foster, "you'd better take a look inward."

If you've gone through the aforementioned steps and determined that you aren't at fault, try to understand where the other person is coming from, says Foster. "Ask why did they act this way? What would drive them to be so disruptive?" she says. "If you get your arms around the underlying dynamic it allows you to take a more empathetic view with them."

Foster says there are many types of disruptive employees, who she calls "schmucks." They range from egocentric to emotional to obsessive co-workers. When you come across these types of employees, who are chronically irritating, it's best to get away from the situation and remove yourself from them, says Foster.

But if you can, she says, talk out any issues with a co-worker who gets under your skin. "Workplace relationships are just another type of relationship between people" says Foster. "They need to be built on openness and communication."

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See also:

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