If you experienced EMOTIONAL conflict at work, it is likely because you “rubbed” someone the wrong way, or they “rubbed” you the wrong way.

When conflict arises, as you likely know, it can be quite ugly. At the emotional level, it can be so disruptive as to interfere with your happy home life. It may cause you great enough anxiety that you lose quality sleep. It may be distracting enough to cause you to have an accident.

So learning to deal with conflict, emotional conflict, is a necessary skill for employees. THIS skill is not generally taught to employees of most companies. But some companies do offer courses in conflict resolution.

When conflict does arise, on the job, the sooner it is addressed the better. Catching it at its earliest moments will help protect both parties from the magnifying effect of imaginations. Like a poorly tended to wound, if left to its own devices, it will fester, worsen and, if left to its own devices long enough, can result in major medical trauma.

Though it may be embarrassing and most definitely will grate on one’s ego, the best resolution is a quick, early apology by the party who crossed the line. As well, the party who feels damaged, needs to be resilient and tolerant enough to allow for the occasional “line crossing” for any of a number of reasons.

Conflicts can be resolved quickly if either party makes the so-called first move to identify, address and propose a FLEXIBLE plan to rectify the perceived transgression. Communications is vital, and keeping those communication channels open is an absolutely urgent matter.

Once communications is established, and the transgression discussed in an accommodating manner, it will likely serve both parties to create a written action plan, an agreed-to set of behaviours or standards,  to ensure that type of particular line-crossing, and any other foreseeable line-crossings, can be avoided.

Often conflicts can be avoided or minimized, and a much more pleasant work environment can be established, if all parties agree to written performance standards before hand and stick to their written expectations. But it will serve just as well to adjust or create performance documentation after the fact as well. In the latter instance, conflicts can be an early warning indicator that performance standards/mandates are not clearly understood.  Thus, conflicts may serve as a “cry for help” or as a signals for management to pay attention and address an area that needs better defined performance requirements or goals that need better elucidating.

Another way to describe conflict in the workplace is: FRICTION between parties.

SCIENCE DEFINITION OF FRICTION:  the resistance that one surface encounters while  RUBBING AGAINST another surface or object.  [Of course there should be no physical rubbing taking place in the workplace.]

Don’t cause friction in the workplace. If, for some reason, you cause or are the victim of friction, create a channel of communication between yourself and the other party.