The popular book ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’ by John Gray deals with complex relationships between men and women. It is rightly said

It’s a man’s world’ but even more meaningful and beautiful is the saying which goes ‘The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’. There are a number of men and women who have given exemplary services in their field of expertise and have carved out a niche for themselves and have also risen to positions of power, prestige and fame.


What makes these men and women tick? They are people like you and me but these people have learnt the art of juggling their personal and professional life and also maintaining a perfect balance. One important aspect of their life is handling conflict at their workplace. Let us now discuss the reasons how conflicts occur in our workplace.


Many men and women all over the world go to work taking their personal conflicts to their workplace thereby creating tension, personality clashes, ego problems, jealousies and frustrations. Handling and managing difficult colleagues and juniors at work is not an easy task as we are working in an office environment which has people who come from different backgrounds, cultures and traditions, mindsets and above all different religions. Conflicts can occur between the same sexes or the opposite sexes. Ego clashes are bound to occur even if colleagues come with equal or higher or lower educational qualifications and economic backgrounds.


Such an environment is not conducive to personal and professional growth of the individual and organization as a whole. Handling conflict at the workplace requires tact and diplomacy. Here are a few useful tips that will help us tide over a seemingly unwanted and unpleasant storm of ego and personality clashes that can be avoided. They are:-


1. Be calm and composed whatever the situation.


2. Come to work with a positive attitude even if colleagues are jumping over the fence to mess your day.


3. Always smile even if it is the most painful thing to do.


4. Greet everyone with a robust handshake. They’ll know you mean business even if a conflict is brewing in the office.


5. Love your work, business and above all your organization. It will show in your output at the end of the year.


6. Spread energy and enthusiasm during lunchtime or snack time. This will help dissipate

any negativity.


7. Be an arbitrator or a mediator: – When you sense that conflict is simmering between two people and there is a level of discomfiture in the environment. This is a crucial time for sitting down and sorting out their differences. Be a friend.


8. Organize workshops and seminars from time to time on how to manage conflict most importantly stress and also time management.


9. Praise a colleague where it is due. Praise is like an incentive and does wonders for people who work hard to get recognized.


10. Foster goodwill and integrity amongst colleagues. Do not encourage colleagues to spy on one another. This will weaken the administrative system in the organization.


11. Have weekly and fortnightly board meetings and bring up issues related to conflict.


12. Boardroom discussions can help bring up a lot of issues related to conflict to the fore.

  Healthy discussions between colleagues without starting an ugly fight or argument in front of everybody can clear the air of dissent. Do not judge anybody nor point a finger at them.Discussions be carried out in a matured way.


13. Realize that conflicts are a part and parcel of life and workplace conflicts are the most common.


14. Always keep communication lines open. Always talk to your colleague as a friend. They will soon realize whom they can share their problems with.


15. Do not pass on vital information and gossip between colleagues. It is these misunderstandings which lead to conflicts.


16. Respect every individual space to help him/her realize what his/her core values and principles are. Do not force them to resolve an issue simply because you want it resolved at that moment, so that it is over and done with. That is not the right thing to do as two or more people involved in the conflict do not look at their problem through your eyes.


17. Just give everybody time, but make sure you solve it for them. Do not drag the problem too long. You will lose your credibility as a senior person in the organization.


18. Encourage colleagues to be realistic in their goals and ambitions but at the same time to be consistent in their performance. Unrealistic goals and ambitions lead to conflicts.


19. Do not make a mountain of a molehill that is to say do not allow a small unimportant conflict assume alarming proportions that the parties involved get into a legal battle that you are faced with lawyers and courtroom scenes.


20. Last but not least we must not forget that at the end of the day we all earn for a living. Work hard to foster an emotionally healthy, hygienic, congenial, peaceful and a harmonious environment conducive to an enjoyable working experience of a lifetime



This article is written by Sunitta Raman


Picture by Vu Bui