Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

9 Strategies for Surviving Workplace Conflicts With Everyone's Feelings Intact

person standing alone

As much as we’d all love the working world to be like a happy episode of Parks and Recreation, that’s not always how office relationships turn out. And when things gets tough—with a jealous co-worker, an uncooperative team, or even a simple miscommunication issue—it can be hard to figure out what the right course of action is. No one wants to have to manage conflicts, but it’s almost always your only way out of them in a way that’s safe and healthy for those involved, not to mention your company, too.

Luckily, disputes of any sort are all generally similar to navigate, no matter how distinct one problem is from the next. Here are nine ways to approach any sort of workplace friction with style.

  1. When you boil strife down to the key players involved, you’ll notice there are common ways to address each situation accordingly. (Washington Post)

  2. It’s easy for things to get heated when all sides of an issue feel that they’re involved for the right reasons. Just keep in mind that resolving the situation is about sharing and communicating from all sides as opposed to merely finding out who’s right and who’s wrong. (YES! Magazine)

  3. The best way to deal with office turmoil? Actively listen to who’s hurting and try to understand his or her point of view. (Forbes)

  4. Try to stay optimistic through it all. As a point of caution, you should always expect to continue working with those involved, so burning bridges is not an option here. (mindbodygreen)

  5. If you’re worried the situation might be getting too carried away, these are some options for de-escalation you should keep in mind. (The Recovering Engineer)

  6. Stepping back for a moment might help you realize that whatever caused the disagreement isn’t actually worth all this drama, anyway. Choose your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. (Lifehacker)

  7. Again, never burn bridges—especially in the office. Even if you don’t like a single trait about one of your colleagues, there are still ways to work with him or her.

  8. Or maybe someone’s been getting on your nerves and the best option to maintain your professional cool is to confront her, come clean about what’s bothering you, and be honest with her to work on fixing it. (Entrepreneur)

  9. Finally, just remember: It feels difficult now, but you’re going to be OK. A little confidence can go a long way when it comes to settling things with those around you. (The Daily Muse)