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It’s Time to Resolve
that Pesky Conflict with Your Coworker
Dr. Greg Ketchum, 02/26/05
If you work long enough for any company you’re
bound to get into a conflict with a coworker
and whether it results in open warfare or a
prolonged cold war an unresolved conflict with
a coworker can make life at work pretty miserable.
One of the absolute best things you can do for
your career is to take the initiative to resolve
that pesky ongoing conflict now. Here’s how.
First, here are some examples of critical mistakes
and key success factors concerning conflict
3 Critical Mistakes
- Avoid the conflict and hope it goes away.
- Throw gasoline on it to “get back at your
- Badmouth your coworker behind their back.
3 Keys to Success
- Confront the problem & get ready to
- Don’t lose your cool and don’t blame when
resolving the conflict.
- Invest more in resolving the conflict than
Here are some action steps to help you successfully
prepare for and manage the conversation with
your coworker in order to resolve that conflict.
- Determine Your Part in the Conflict:
Stand back, put yourself in your coworker’s
shoes and figure out what your contribution
to the conflict is. Take responsibility for
it and correct it. Swallow your false pride.
- Make the First Move: Ask your coworker
if they’ll meet with you to resolve the conflict.
Get agreement on the timing and place of the
meeting. Your goal is not to become best friends,
but rather to resolve the conflict.
- Stay Focused During the Conversation:
In the conversation seek to understand
more than be understood, check your emotions
at the door, use “I” statement, don’t blame,
clear up misunderstandings, compromise, and
thank your coworker for taking the time to
work it out.
If All Else Fails And You
- Escalate it to Your Manager: If you
just can’t work it out let your coworker know
you think the next step is to escalate the
conflict to your manager to get their help.
Remember, it’s your life. If you don’t take
care of the conflicts you find yourself in,
no one else will and they won’t get resolved.
If you’ve got work or career topics you’d like
to see us address just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
®2005 Gregory A. Ketchum, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.