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Conflict in the Workplace

April 13, 2009

This topic is something that we all need to learn about. It is part of our life, no matter what the situation is and I am going to relate this to what I know best, sports. I have been involved in sports since I was 5 years old and definitely know that conflict in the workplace and in athletics is very relatable.
First thing’s first, there is conflict everywhere. We all deal with it every day whether it is in the workplace, at home, or maybe even at the grocery store. And knowing how to deal with it in a professional manner is essential!
In order for a team to reach its ultimate goal, winning, cooperation and communication is key! Everyone on a team has a specific role and is there for a reason. You can’t be successful without each and every person on your team; you won’t get a touchdown without a lineman to protect your quarterback, without a setter, you won’t be getting any spikes and without a catcher, baseball would definitely not be the same. So know that in your workplace, you are there for a reason and the team would not operate the same without you and your teammates.
The truth is, not everyone is going to get along and there will always be someone who rubs you the wrong way. But here is the number one thing to remember; keep your personal issues OFF the field! When you walk into work, let your professional side take over and know that you are all working towards the same goal, so get to work and don’t let yourself get bothered by things that are unrelated. As soon as an athlete steps foot on the field, it’s game time! It doesn’t matter who was fighting with whom in the locker room or what someone said about you behind your back- there is no time for that! As soon as personal issues start taking over your game, you will get benched! And in this economy, this is not what anyone needs. Be the bigger person and focus on what needs to get done and not on the rest.
Another thing to think about is what my Dad always told me when I played basketball- the second person to react is the one that gets the foul! I can remember numerous times playing down low in the blocks, I would all of a sudden get a quick elbow jab to the ribs and as soon as I would give my defender a little jab back, TOOT!! Foul #00- Curtis her third foul and to the bench I would go. If someone at work is making rude comments, talking about you behind you back, or doing something else just to get under your skin to get you to retaliate IGNORE IT! If you start doing something back, you will more often than not get the blame and we are all too old and too proud to be saying “well she started it.” Don’t let something like this be the reason that you get reprimanded or worse lose your job!
What are you supposed to do if something like this happens? Take the road less traveled is my opinion. Ignore it, and if this doesn’t work, approach the person professionally and reveal how you feel about it. In the end if things aren’t changing, the last straw is to talk to your boss. I guarantee your boss will appreciate you coming to them instead of starting some big old fight out in the cubicles.
In the end, my advice to you when conflict arises; be the bigger person. Take some deep breaths and just focus on what you are being paid to do- work.

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