Categories : Coaching Communication De-escalation Difficult Situation Recognition Team Building


Office squabbles aren’t much different than those we experience at home. Because we can’t typically choose our co-workers; personality and style differences can create conflict over petty issues. There can be squabbles over some pretty minor issues, such as room temperatures, empty paper trays, coffee pots left on the burner, jammed copy machines, job envy; or these squabbles can escalate and include conflict over internal processes, priorities, he said/she said, customers and more.

But more often than not, an office squabble is the result of a simple problem that can easily be resolved through direct and honest communication. Here are some ideas to help you resolve your office squabbles:

• Identify the problem and communicate directly with the appropriate person. Don’t vent your frustrations behind their back or gossip with other co-workers. Find a time for both of you to calmly discuss the problem in private and explain it as you see it. Be careful not to accuse the person.

• Use “I” language to discuss the problem. For example: “I get cold easily so when you turn the temperature down, I’m really uncomfortable.” Be sure to listen carefully when the other person explains his or her side of the problem.

• Understand that office squabbles frequently occur due to style differences. Try to look at the situation objectively. What is it about that person or their actions that makes you angry? Are they doing it intentionally or are they unaware of how their actions are affecting others?

• Take a good look at yourself. Maybe the problem is you. Are you really interested in resolving the issue or do you enjoy complaining about it?

• Choose a course of action. Realistically, what would you like to see happen? What changes do you want the other person to make? What changes are you willing to make?

• Agree to disagree. If you can’t come up with a good solution try to reach a reasonable compromise and then agree not to judge one another for the difference of opinion. A sense of humor can go a long way toward resolving office squabbles.

Have your interactions with one person succeeded, only to “bomb out” with another the next moment? This has happened to all of us at one time or another and we probably tried to shrug it off thinking “That’s just the way it is.” However, things do not have to be that way. Nearly every contact, with every person in all areas of your life, can be a success – if you know how to make it happen.

But it requires honest communication, which includes being honest with yourself and others. Just how willing are you to do that?