A diverse workplace composed of various personality types can sometimes result in discord. Minor problems arise due to conflicting likes, dislikes, habits and behaviors. Gone unchecked, these conflicts can lead to larger issues such as low morale or productivity. Often, resolving differences and petty annoyances between coworkers calls for creative thinking and diplomacy. Resourceful employees working in concert frequently arrive at a solution without involving management. When conflicts are at a standstill, however, it is time for a supervisor to mediate.
For many employees, home base is a cubicle workstation. Many employers favor this configuration because it is economical. The downside is a lack of privacy. With no door to close, an employee is vulnerable to visitors. It is often difficult to discourage chatty coworkers from intruding on your space without being offensive. Get creative by signaling your need to be alone. Try posting a sign on the outside of your cubicle signifying you are deadline driven until lunchtime. Rise to your feet when an unwanted visitor arrives indicating you are not open to a cozy sit-down chat. Tactfully tell your guest that in two minutes you must engage in a hot project. On the flip side, be respectful of others. Avoid visiting when your work is completed unless you intend to offer assistance to colleagues.
Sound can disrupt the work flow. Perhaps the employee in the cubical next door engages in lengthy sales calls in a loud robust voice. While the employee is only doing his job, you find it impossible to concentrate. Resolve this situation with a direct approach. Tell the super sales guy how much you appreciate the value he brings to the department. Explain that although it is educational to listen to his sales strategies, you also have a job to do. Ask him politely to focus on lowering his voice when speaking with customers on the phone. Displaying sincere appreciation prior to making your request is a courteous way of arriving at resolution. If appropriate, wear headphones to help alleviate unwanted sound bites.
Many projects involve working with others to accomplish a common goal. Roadblocks occur when two teammates strongly differ on how to approach or deal with certain aspects of the assignment. Creatively brainstorm some alternative methods of moving forward to resolve the impasse. Be prepared to negotiate. Concede a point or two. Taking the high road eliminates tension and helps return team members to a neutral environment. If a mutual agreement cannot be reached, agree upon a mediator to help align the opposing parties.
Unbalanced Work Load
Before approaching your manager to discuss a work overload, perform an internal review. Assess your efficiency. Work on the more difficult aspects of your job when your energy level is the highest. Do not fall victim to interrupting your work flow for every email or phone call. Create a schedule and stick to it. Return calls and deal with non-emergency emails at a designated time. Arrive at work a few minutes early and opt out of unnecessary meetings.
Jan Simon is a career and life coach with more than 20 years of experience in corporate human resources. She holds a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. Simon enjoys writing career articles and is a columnist for the CV Weekly. She also publishes a weekly blog called Life on the Sunny Side.