The amount of confrontation that you face in the workplace will more than likely depend on the job that you do. If you work in departments such as customer relations or complaints, you may deal with confrontation every day. Confrontational situations may also arise with work colleagues and can turn the working environment into a stressful place. There are a few techniques that may help either to detect or to avoid confrontation.
If you work with the public every day, there are a number of ways you can avoid confrontation. Whether you are talking face to face or on the telephone, always try to sound authoritative and confident. This will make the person you are talking to aware that you are taking the situation seriously. It will also let them know that you are in charge of the situation and capable of dealing with the problem.
Another easy technique to avoid confrontation is to be on first name terms. By using this simple technique, you will sound both sympathetic and empathetic to the person’s problems. It’s as if you are saying that you know what the person is going through and that we are all human.
A technique that many managers use to avoid confrontation or to calm down a situation is called the ESP process. ESP stands for empathy, sympathy and priority. Understanding, agreeing and working out a way to deal with the problem should help to avoid confrontation.
There are ways you can predict if a person is going to become hostile or angry. These mostly take the form of physical cues. Look out for certain body movements, such as rubbing the back of the neck, fidgeting, flaring nostrils or rapid breathing. These are all signs that a person is becoming angry and frustrated with the situation they are dealing with. Using the ESP method immediately should help calm the person down and avoid confrontation.
Workplace confrontation between colleagues is a slightly different matter. It may be a clash of personalities, in which case the best thing to do is to have minimal contact with the colleague in question. However, most personality clashes can be repaired simply by getting to know the person better. Many workplaces use team building days in order to strengthen bonds between colleagues and to help prevent confrontation.
In any workplace, there will be times when there is no way to avoid confrontation. Sometimes, confrontation is necessary in order to air some ongoing dispute. Confrontation should not always be seen as a bad thing, as an amicable agreement can arise from it.
If the everyday routine of work is being disrupted by certain behavior, then the matter may have to be taken further. A supervisor or immediate superior should be informed if the situation has taken on a bullying or violent nature. Stress in the workplace is the one of the largest reasons for absenteeism. Management should have a number of rules in place in order to help employees avoid confrontation and conflict.