Dealing With Inner-Office Conflict


When a conflict arises the best thing is to usually separate yourself from it, but when that conflict is taking place where you work it can be nearly impossible to do so. Whether it’s an argument, disagreement, or a full-blown fist-fight (believe me, it happens), finding an appropriate way to deal with it is often the difference between being reprimanded/punished and being able to continue your day in a regular fashion.

Whenever I find myself in some kind of confrontation with someone I always take a few moments (usually while the other person is talking/yelling/whatever) to determine if it’s even worth my time. Has something happened that deserves a significantly negative response from me? Has the other party done something to justify a response, or are they reacting to something that justifies a response? And, of course, will this actually solve anything?

Most of the time the last question is almost always a “no”, and so I simply move on. Richard Spanton Jr. explains that that doesn’t always end the argument, however, and often simply “moving on” leaves a fair bit of animosity remaining on both sides. So how do you deal with that?

  • Seek a professional solution.
  • Keeping control of your senses and seeking out a professional way to conclude the conflict is the smart move here. Don’t belittle the other party, don’t ignore them, and don’t lash out that them. Simply state that there’s no reason for the conflict to continue and that you want to end it now. Ask for concessions on their end, just as you will have to give concessions as well.Most (rational) people have no problem with compromise as long as they feel they are being treated fairly.
  • De-escalate the situation.
  • If it’s an “in your face” argument, tone it down. Lower your voice and ask the other party to do the same. If they refuse, simply inform them that you won’t continue this conversation so long as they are going to act in that way. Once they’ve calmed down, come to a rational conclusion. What have you done that’s upset them? What have they done that’s upset you?Answer both questions and a compromise will almost always appear.
  • Do not gossip or drag it on.
  • Offices can be a breeding ground for social gossip and chit-chat. Participating in it makes you as guilty of perpetuating a conflict as anyone else, even if you aren’t directly involved. The bottom line is that you don’t need to go there, so don’t. It will save you headaches down the road.
  • Seek a higher authority when necessary.
  • This is your work, not a playground. If someone else is going out of their way to make your life miserable talk to your boss. Let them know what’s going on, and ask them to bring about some kind of solution. That’s part of the reason why they’re there in the first place, so take advantage of it.

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11 thoughts on “Dealing With Inner-Office Conflict

  1. Office talks can make or break your career. I wonder how many handle with not so good bosses and all. I have a god amount of stuff from various locations on the web, showing a large extend how to manage office scenarios.
    Check it out at

  2. yes, yes! conflict and gossip can rule projects in the office, but outsourcing (even locally) can prove profitable… with one issue – finding a team that sees it the way you do… and not only that – a team that understands what you aim to accomplish… the point being employee training, and I’ve worked with this team before and they know what’s going on… or at least they’re willing to listen

  3. Nothing beats consulting directly with the boss. They are the first to know the problems and your opinion when they asked.

  4. It is better to resolve disputes by the persons involving in that,or involve some responsible persons in your office who can manage it. And it is best to forget that dispute forever

  5. It is better to resolve conflicts by those who are involved in that, or take help from senior and responsible persons in office and never arise that topic again.

    If you are a get-things-done manager, sooner or later on your career path you will come in conflict with your boss. The same sort of assertiveness and confidence that leads you to career success has helped him to earn his position.
    Career Tip: If you do not have periodic disagreements with your supervisors you are probably not being as assertive as you should be in moving your career ahead.
    These conflicts can prove to be hazardous to the health of your career if they are not handled with common sense.
    No one enjoys conflict, especially with the boss. But when you have an honest difference of opinion, it is better to pay the price of discomfort and take the risk of some penalty than to bottle up the frustration and nagging conscience that results from not meeting what you see as your responsibilities.
    Knowing you will have conflicts, you can be prepared to handle them so there are no individual losers.
    There are nine job tips about ways you lessen the damage that can result from conflicts with your boss. In fact, you can turn these conflicts to your advantage.
    1. Concisely define the issue– preferably in writing– so that you have a clear understanding as to what the controversy is all about.
    If the conflict doesn’t damage your prospects for career success, save your energies for another time when the stakes are significant.
    2. Give full consideration to the points of view of all parties concerned, especially the boss.
    3. Weigh your reasons and objectives against the good of the organization. Before you go to the mat on an issue, be sure you are motivated by what you believe to be the larger interest and not just your own narrowly defined agenda.
    4. After due consideration you still feel the difference is worth pursuing have a face-to-face discussion with your boss. If the matter is not resolved with a meeting, ask permission to leave a written explanation with your boss for his further consideration.
    5. Never push your boss into a corner where he has no room for compromise. Do not air the conflict with your boss in the presence of others.
    6. Don’t let the matter be positioned on a personal basis.
    7. Be tactful. Show respect for the boss’s position and responsibilities.
    8. Keep the matter in perspective. It is a rare situation when the resolution of an issue results in a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the world coming to an end.
    9. Don’t pin a medal on your chest if you prevail or wear the black of mourning if the decision goes the other way. Get on with the job. If you have been heard and the boss still doesn’t agree, be a good trooper, support his decision, openly and aggressively. If the outlook is contrary to your basic values look for another job.
    Career Advice: If you can’t discuss conflicts with your boss in a free and open manner so as to arrive at acceptable resolutions, or if disagreements are so frequent and painful that your life and career are being disrupted, recognize you have a problem larger than any single issue.
    You may be at odds with the standards and objectives of the boss or the organization. Or the personal chemistry between you and your boss may be out of balance.
    If you can’t resolve the conflicts or live with them, locate another opportunity. Life is too short to exist in a world of turmoil and confrontations.

  7. I think the best thing to do is number 2 on your list: De-escalate the conversation. This way, you can both return to the discussion after a cooling off period (whether its a few minutes or a few days).

  8. I like number 3. Avoiding gossip at work can ensure that your work relationships remain stable and your work life happier.

  9. I suppose the old saying from the Bible; “It is better to keep quiet and be thought of a fool than open your mouth and be known as one” applies in the work place more than any other.
    I hate office conflict…………it usually begins with a smart remark or gossip………… I have seen more than one good work environment spiral out of control due to office conflict.
    These days I just keep quiet and do my job………….

  10. Office is like a home too:) The boss is the parent. When you consult them they give constructive advice rather than being emotional .

  11. This is a great post! Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. You spend so much time there and everyone’s personalities are different, it only makes sense!!

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