Conflicts in the Workplace

I have been blessed for the past five years with having a relatively conflict free workplace. Prior to that I endured  fifteen years of torture with a very narcissistic colleague who was mercifully escorted out of the agency and told not to return.

There have been extreme changes in my agency in the past year, in terms of who we serve and the service model we now embrace.  I can deal with those things.  There is a consultant from another state agency, however, who has been charged with helping us through these changes. We meet primarily through video conferencing. That is a good thing, because if we were meeting in person I would probably start throwing things at them and shouting.  A person who just started working for our department probably shouldn’t be acting as though they are in charge of every aspect of policy for every single agency they consult to.  This person is young and tactless.  They don’t have an understanding of how things in our department work statewide, and don’t understand that the needs of Fargo (where they work) are different than the needs of the western and more rural parts of the State. I am being thoughtful and strategic in dealing with this. It isn’t easy.

Workplace conflict is tricky. You have to find solutions without causing a ruckus, hurting feelings, or getting fired. I have a temper that I have to rein in a lot these days. I find humor helps. I can do this.

How have you dealt with workplace conflict?

48 thoughts on “Conflicts in the Workplace”

  1. i switch focus
    i am fortunate and when i run into a situation i hate i simply stop it.
    in your situation i would find the person responsible for plugging in the doorknob and have a deep discussion with the outlook in the future as it affects them the state the jib description etc.
    inform them that you have two years (or whatever it is) left then the walls will come crumbling down if left in the hands of numb-nuts
    companies do whatever they need to do to hit their goal, as the goal shifts so does the logic in continuing on someone elses screwed up vision
    i have always claimed i am a great worker and a really bad employee

    Liked by 2 people

  2. masks are cooking
    im on driveway homes for front line folks like doctors and nurses and also on bubble water machines for schools and homes
    i have two other companies cooking and am really disappointed air bnb biz turned into such a suck monster biz in todays world
    i may be back because it makes sense but my partner and i have a different hat to wear on the reemergence

    Like

        1. places for doctors and nurses to live where they can be home but not endangering their families. rvs are being loaned. container home for short term use until the virus passes hopefully less than 1 year then a trailer house or lake cottage get away ala trailer home

          masks have got me buried right now but this container tiny house concept is a focus also

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it refers to a temporary shelter that could be set up in a home’s driveway, to circumvent the needs for a health care worker to enter the house and possibly expose family members. Kinda like a granny pod, but less permanent. As an alternative for workers who are currently coming home and stripping their clothes off in a utility room and whooping before they can enter the main part of the home.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. i think id love having renee work for my company to deal with the crap in a way that keeps the forward motion going while redirecting the momentary diversion created when a laser focused moron is put in charge of such things. please keep them from running for president renee. its a scary world out there in the solent majority tea party neo nazi hate group special interest brouhaha that it is a pandemic waiting to erupt from the ranks of the milenials who want to rule he world. the success of the bulldozer technique of going forward wih an agenda can be analytically laid out to assure success and it cant be easily stopped when put in motion, isaac asimov ray bradberry margeret atwood have had their inspiration, wonder where hey found it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Heaven is high and the Emperor is far away”
    First of all, you haven’t said whether this consultant is actually in authority or just presumes it. A lot of so-called authority only obtains because people accept it unquestioned. You have to have a firm sense of what you represent and stick to it.
    I once heard third hand that I had been characterized as “doing a good job but never doing it the way you told him to”. Not only was that a fair assessment but just the way I would choose to be regarded.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I know nothing about handling workplace conflicts well. I’m an expert on the consequences of handling them badly. In two jobs in a row, I got along beautifully with everyone except my boss. That, I can attest, is not a winning strategy.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Ugh, workplace conflict can be so hard. Renee, I wish this was not happening. It sounds like you are handling it well.

    There often seem to be conflicts that arise in various categories:

    Incompetence
    Narcissism
    Philosophy of whatever it is
    Methodology
    Poor communication
    Lack of resources

    I am sure that there are more, but these themes often run through conflicts in almost any setting. The only conflict that seems just as destructive is the conflict that happens in churches,which are also workplaces for some people and the source of community and belief for others. When those blow up it as stressful as workplace conflict.

    After I had cancer my supervisor, who was incompetent and dependent on her boss, saw me as vulnerable and began to harass me, probably at her bosses’ direction. That was the most sustained conflict I ever endured. I had to file union complaints to get her to back off until I could stabilize my health and get another job.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Micromanagement is a sure sign of lack of vision and imagination. Instead of facilitating, micromanagers inhibit. Many people who aspire to manage are there for the wrong reasons. A good manager focuses on objectives, not on process or personality. The job is the boss.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I’m gonna claim tims comment ” i am a great worker and a really bad employee “. Boy, can I use that. Usually I’m left to work on my own.
    Several years ago the college got a new president after having a pretty good one for 15 years. course the outgoing one had some good years helping them out. But new one came in, turned the place upside down, which didn’t go over so well, accepted none of the blame, and drove out a lot of good people. Only took 18 months to force them out. It was a precursor to the national leadership. Then a few years of temp leadership. Because who would want to come here now. Some of the temps were good and helped stabilize and establish some trust. And now we’ve had a president for a few years who is doing good things and is supportive and really is just a nice guy. It’s good to have a good boss.

    There’s always kind of a question about who is my actual boss. Sometimes it’s the artistic director, who is the head of the theater department. We get along well. Except for the random times he’s making me crazy.
    Sometimes it’s our department chair. Sometimes it the Dean who signs my timesheet. Sometimes it’s the person who verifies my credit card purchase. When people ask me who my supervisor is I usually say “I don’t know”.
    And thats OK.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Boy, I don’t envy you that situation, Renee.

    Most of my jobs have been in very small settings, just a few (under a dozen) people with relatively good bosses, so the conflicts came from within rather than from above. In one case, bipolar disorder was at the root of problem, and I reacted by leaving, mostly because of other factors, but this helped it to happen sooner than later.
    Come to think of it, when teaching and not getting much needed and appropriate support from administration, I left that too. I guess my modus operandi is to run away.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Well, this isn’t a result of conflict, but I just dropped my set of car, office, and house keys down the elevator shaft as I was getting onto the elevator on the first floor of my work. The University is sending a maintenance guy over. I hope he can retrieve them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet you won’t do that again.

      There’s a space of about two inches between our front steps and our house. Once, many, many years ago, as I was bringing in the mail, I dropped a letter and it disappeared into that space. To this day I have no idea what that piece of mail was as we were never able to retrieve it. Since then, though I have been extremely careful, especially with my keys, knowing full well that if they fall into that space, they’re gone forever. Or at least until we decide to buy new front steps to the house.

      The ironic thing, of course, is that if this were a carnival game where you had three tries for a buck to drop something into that slot, you wouldn’t be able to do it.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Yowza, yowza, everybody, step right up! Here’s your chance, for the ridiculously low price of a dollar, to ….You finish it up, BiR.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m glad you got them back!
      I think about that and dropping my phone down there every time I step on the elevator.

      I did drop my keys down that gap at the front steps once. Luckily I could use a tractor and chain to pull them out, retrieve the keys and push them back into place.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I had a key made at a kiosk for a company that scans your key, makes a duplicate, and then stores your information digitally so that if you need a key in the future you can get one made, even if you no longer have the original key.

      I thought that would be a really good backup to have, Get a duplicate made of every important key, and then if you lose them or they’re stolen….problem solved!

      Unfortunately, the duplcate key the kiosk made for me didn’t work. So probably the digital information they stored wouldn’t produce a usable key either.

      Great idea, poor execution.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Well I feel like I shouldn’t complain about my job since my furlough starts a week from today but I have just finished one of the crappiest days for a long time. In fact this morning I had to call a friend of mine so I could rant for a little bit on the phone. I know this is a trying time but I feel like the direction that I am getting from my management leaves a bit to be desired.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Indulge yourself, vs. If you feel like a good rant would help, go ahead. Living the kind of uncertainty that you’re living with at the moment, is hard. Really hard. So, give yourself a lot of slack, and then pick yourself up, and go on your way. If anyone can do it, I know you can. ❤

      Liked by 4 people

  12. I would assume VS that your person in charge has zero experience in dealing with this sort of thing and probably isn’t very well-suited for it maybe you could throw your hat into the ring and suggest how it should be handled you are the person that could probably figure out how to do this better than anyone on the planet go ahead and exert yourself what have you got to lose?

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  13. I can relate to that! I think for me, when I have a workplace conflict, I usually try to sit down and chat with the person to first understand their motivations behind their action. This helps me make sure I empathize with their situation, but also works as a check if I’m the one doing wrong. I wish more people tried to listen, but yeah it can be really challenging sometimes when the other party refuses to engage and deflects with rage.

    Like

  14. I really enjoyed reading your post. About ten years ago, I worked in a very toxic environment and went through a stint of workplace bullying. And I wasn’t the only one bullied. There were many, many others. The environment I worked in was filled with conflict and it was difficult to come in some days.

    Because I had been bullied in school (all bullies pretty much use the same tactics, adults are only stealthier), I was able to stay a few steps ahead of the bullies, kept a CYA record and cover my tail. It also helped that we didn’t actually work for the nursing home in question but for a company which was contracted with them and that my supervisor was very supportive of his workers.

    Eventually I was able to walk away from the job with confidence and on my own terms. But sadly, so many others weren’t as fortunate as I was.

    Thank you so much for posting. I feel that most workplace conflict is due to bullying and many employers have a hard time addressing this issue.

    Like

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