“Can you tell me about a time you had a conflict at work?”
You’ve likely heard of or even been asked this very question during an interview.
Hiring managers gravitate towards this question so often because conflict management remains an essential soft skill and an inherent indicator of a candidate’s interpersonal skills.
Here are some strategies to help you navigate conflict in the workplace professionally and effectively.
Empathize with the other side. Oftentimes, simply conveying and vocalizing that you understand an opposing position goes a long way towards resolving a conflict and de-escalating a tense situation.
I realize that with the large number of deadlines on your plate, it’s a very stressful time right now.
Understand motivations. Another key to conflict resolution is figuring out the needs and wants of each individual party and then catering to those wishes. By investigating individual motivations you can more effectively resolve conflicts on an individual basis.
I understand that you need to allocate most your time to these deadlines in order to get these deliverables out on time. How would you like to approach balancing outside requests moving forward?
Create emotional distance. Never respond in anger and keep disagreements professional. This may seem like common sense, but in the heat of the moment emotions can get the better of even the most composed individuals. Focus on establishing agreed upon facts and working towards an actionable solution.
Let’s take a moment to take stock of the situation. We have to resolve the following issues…
In the end, remember that healthy disagreement brings a productive discourse to the workplace. Employers look for candidates who have the temperament and interpersonal skills to navigate and resolve conflicts in a positive and productive manner.