The time of year for performance reviews/ evaluations is quickly rolling around. Some of the biggest factors our supervisors look at across the profession are teamwork, communication, and how we deal with conflicts in the workplace.
Conflicts can arise at any time, over any situation. We've all been there, and we've all fallen into the trap of thinking before we speak. Next time you do not see eye-to-eye with a coach, athlete/patient, supervisor, etc. try to remember that their perception is so much different that your own.
- Try to stay calm and breathe, remember to listen to everything they are saying, as well as sympathize with them. You can understand without agreeing. Plus the calmer and more rational you are in the situation, the less likely it is to escalate into a full-blown argument.
- Control your emotions and behavior. Our peers feed off our negative energy and emotions. Conversely, the same is true of positive energy... it can spread like wildfire! Do not be afraid to ask for a time out, or to step away from the situation. This shows a more mature way of handling the situation, and no one can fault you for that.
- Be aware of your differences. Again, conflict often happens due to differences in perception. What you may view as right/wrong or helpful/hurtful, someone may see as the opposite. Trying to understand where they come from and their background may help shed some light on why they feel the way they do.
- Know when to let go, or let it roll off. Not all battles are meant to be fought. Be willing to forgive, and ask for forgiveness.
- Be willing to compromise. In this situation, neither party is getting what they want, but at least the situation is solved. Sometimes a solution can even be "agree to disagree."
- One of the biggest things stressed in our profession is documentation. If you find yourself working daily with a difficult person with whom conflict is a regular issue, document all of your interactions. This will help cover your rear if it comes down to it.
Ask your co-workers for their opinion of your conflict resolution skills. Do not be offended by what they have to say, as constructive criticism can only hurt if you let it. Be willing to adapt and make the change if needed!