The workplace throws together people who would normally never meet. Truth be told, some of them we wish we had never met. Chances are you’ve experienced conflict with a coworker. How did you handle it? Try to avoid the other person? Maybe make fun of him behind his back? Perhaps you held nothing back and let that person know by your words and/or actions that you had no use for him.
Workplace conflict is actually quite normal, but if it gets out of control it can lead to shocking violence.
Every employee has a responsibility to deal with conflict. As one human resources manager put it; “There’s no requirement for you to be friends, but there is a requirement for a professional working relationship.”
Everyone has an interest behind the position he takes and those interests may not conflict after all. When they do, compromises have to be worked out.
Of course, there are situations where workers need to get professional help to deal with issues both on and off the job that leave them severely stressed and potentially explosive. Employee assistance programs might help in such cases.
Take a zero-tolerance attitude toward violence or threatening behavior. People should never be given an opportunity to bully others at work. Requesting that an anonymous bully reporting line be set up is one way to keep workplace violence in check.
Don’t let threats, comments seething with hatred or other warning signs slide by. Say something to your supervisor if you feel threatened or notice that a coworker is losing it around others. Wait long enough without doing anything and your worst fears may come true.