All too often, at the workplace, one comes across conflict.
Conflict of personalities is perhaps the most common of all. A particular individual may come across as loud to another, soft-spoken sort. A louder-than-usual request, for instance, may sound like an order or a demand, which ends up offending the other person. In retaliation, the response is, ‘Don’t shout’. Counter response, ‘I didn’t shout; if you have a problem, I can’t help it’,… and so begins the start of inter-personal conflict and the end of harmonious relations.
Often, non-verbal communication also precipitates conflict, for instance an otherwise casual eye contact, prolonged or intense enough to be interpreted as a stare!
To avoid the scenario the office environment must have a pre-defined culture, one which is determined by the head or the unit manager or senior members. A culture that encourages courtesies like Could you?, May I?, Please and Thank you, notwithstanding hierarchy; a culture that also defines the tone and tenor of inter-personal communication. Cordiality and a smiling demeanour are also time-tested tools that defuse a likely conflict. In the event of a conflict brewing, it is advisable to put off the personality clash and focus on the job-at-hand.
After all, every action does not always require an equal reaction.