As more people are returning to work, you may find that your coworkers are processing the many changes brought on by aspects of the pandemic in different ways, with views that might conflict with yours. This can sometimes lead to difficult discussions, making it hard to focus on your job. But no matter the topic of discussion, it’s important to properly and respectfully manage any conflicts that arise. Here are general tips to keep in mind if the dialogue gets heated:
Respect differences. Remember that disagreements are often the result of people having varying backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs. Honor those differences and the freedom to have them.
Be a good role model. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Try not to interrupt. Truly listen, and give the other person the attention you would like to have.
Be cautious about strong conversations in the workplace. A fiery debate could lead to unnecessary conflicts.
Breathe deeply to “buy time.” Count to 10 to gather your thoughts. This will help you act thoughtfully and not just react on impulse.
Sometimes it’s best to give a polite reply and take a time-out. An example: “You’ve given me some things to think about. Thank you.” Take the high road. Be part of the solution instead of fueling a problem. Channel your strong convictions into volunteering, for example, or otherwise committing to making a positive difference while respecting those who believe differently.
Struggling with relationship conflicts at work or home? Seek support from a counselor or ask your healthcare practitioner for a referral.