Dealing with Tension in the Workplace
In any job there are going to be different people with different roles, priorities and attitudes, so it's almost inevitable that frictions occur at some point. The result can mean that the workplace is less productive and less enjoyable, and on a personal level, tensions can become distracting and destructive. By gaining some insight into what is happening, we are in a better position to progress towards conflict resolutions and a more harmonious work environment.
Try looking at things from the other's point of view
Whereas you may not like the way a person behaves in the workplace, try and think about their perspective and their aims. What makes them like that? How wouldyou respond if you were in their shoes? A bit of insight will mean that you can approach them in a more understanding rather than confrontational way. You don't have to agree with what they do in order to appreciate a different perspective.
Do others have similar experiences?
Maybe colleagues have similar issues with the person you find less easy to get on with - how do they manage the situation? Explain your view and ask how they would respond.
Do both sides agree there is tension? Do they both agree what it's about?
Take the first step and arrange to talk to the other person at a time and place that suits you both. In having the opportunity to give your views, you need to ensure your colleague can respond with their thoughts, too. It may simply be a case of a misunderstanding or inaccurate assumptions. Alternatively you may both have different pressures and priorities - if that is the case a discussion will help you both appreciate the other's position.
Sometimes personalities clash
If you find that you simply rub each other up the wrong way then it doesn't harm to acknowledge that. You can still have a reasoned conversation and you may be able to identify practical measures you can agree to take, in order to avoid clashes. This may mean compromises on both sides and if you can take the first step, you may well find the other person reciprocates and is accommodating - they'll feel they make seem unreasonable if they don't.
Do you need to change?
In all of this you may recognise elements in your own habits that are unhelpful. Nobody's perfect so be honest with yourself and seriously consider how you could change your behaviour in order to help the situation. If it leads to a more harmonious and positive place of work which helps you to do your job then it will be worth it - after all, that is what you are there for.
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