One of the most common workplace grievances is disputes among coworkers.
In fact, an article published by Entrepreneur cited that more than one out of every three people experience tension in their workplace due to generational differences. Interestingly, research has found that having good social connections with people that you work with can actually boost productivity.
While it might be unrealistic to expect every working professional in your office to be the best of friends, it is clearly beneficial for employees and for a company when the majority of the employees enjoy working together. Yet despite best intentions, disagreements and tensions in the workplace are inevitable. However, there are some ways to lessen tension and reduce the number of disagreements, whether caused by generational differences or differences in working styles, and promote strong social connections between coworkers.
Mutual goal: It’s always a good idea to remember and to reinforce that no matter what the age difference may be, what the difference in work style is or what department you work under, you and every other coworker are playing for the same team. You have a mutual, common goal of improving the company you work for. While there may be conflicting ideas on how to accomplish that mutual goal, just the fact that you have that in common is something that can help diffuse any tension when it is reinforced or simply stated out loud. This goal ultimately unites everyone and builds a sense of camaraderie that can certainly lead to better interpersonal relationships.
Promote open communication: A big part of misunderstandings at work can come from poor communication. You may be relying too much on email. If you are feeling frustrated, the best thing might be to calmly speak with the person or schedule an in-person meeting. Often, email can be restrictive or tone can be misconstrued. By speaking face to face, it might be easier to understand the thought process of your coworker, and it can help to clear up any misunderstandings or frustration. Most importantly, be willing to listen in order to understand and not just listen in order to defend.
Be emotionally intelligent: Emotional intelligence is a quality that more and more hiring managers are looking for as they make hiring decisions. It is described as the key to both personal and professional success and is shown by being aware of and in control of one’s emotions. An emotionally intelligent person is one who is both empathetic and judicious, and, when a difference of opinion occurs, an emotionally intelligent person aims to understand before going on the defensive. It is important to note that this is not an innate quality, but is one that instead takes a lot of practice. It can be a difficult task to accomplish, especially when both sides are extremely passionate. Still, it is vital for understanding, can help you establish a compromise and can help build or maintain a positive, tension-free working relationship with mutual respect among all coworkers.
Building and maintaining respectful relationships regardless of differences is a good skill to master for any situation, especially in professional settings.