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November 20, 2023

How happy employees handle confrontation better

Confrontation can be hard to handle. Sometimes it’s difficult to establish the best way to overcome it and how to prevent it when moving forward. Here’s an in-depth insight on what confrontation in the workplace is, how to handle confrontation and preventing it from occurring in the future.

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By Emily Roach, Paws in Work guest blogger.

Confrontation in the workplace – what is it?

When working with others, there will inevitably be situations that you or others may not agree with. Sometimes, a discussion is necessary as issues may become worse if not addressed, but there’s a risk of communications not running smoothly. This can be enhanced when employees are stressed with their workload, a lack of collaboration or a clash of personal opinions. Sometimes, uncomfortable conversations or arguments can happen, which may lead to a breakdown of relationships between employees or with employers, leaving a negative impact on the team dynamic.

How to prevent confrontation

There are things you can do to try and prevent confrontation at work. To start with, try to observe and look after your own emotions before others. Sometimes if one or multiple members of your team are feeling down and agitated, it can easily rub off on others. If you’re feeling calm and happy to start with, it should also have a positive influence on others throughout the working day. Remember, you can open up to a trusted employee or your employer if you are experiencing any kind of hardship in the workplace. Training to become a mental health first aider will teach you how to look after your mental health at work, as well as offer guidance to others who may wish to confide in you.

Another way of preventing confrontation is to equally respect your team and the value they offer to the workplace. This can help avoid groups emerging at work, which can create a sense of division, it’s important to make an effort with all team members! Communicate respectfully and politely, this will encourage collaboration, despite the position of seniority you hold.

Finally, choose your battles. Some conversations or debates are simply not worth having. It’s important to read the room and weigh up whether it is worth potentially starting a heated discussion over something that could be addressed on another day. It’s advised to wait until you and the other party are feeling calmer about the situation. There will, however, be some instances where disputes and confrontation will take place and it can’t be avoided, but it’s always handy to know how to keep this at a minimum.

How to address it if it can’t be prevented

If there’s a scenario where confrontation can’t be stopped, you’ll want to diffuse the situation as soon as possible. Whether you are personally dealing with conflict or you’re observing this happen amongst others, there are ways to help.

Firstly, it’s important to always let the other person express their opinion, shutting them down could cause further upset and the issue will remain unresolved, it is just as important for your voice to be heard too.

Be honest – speaking directly about your feelings rather than avoiding the matter will help diffuse the unspoken tension. When you calmly approach the issue, you’re already one step closer to fixing things.

Another important tip to remember is to stay calm, cool, and collected, even if you don’t agree with what the other person is saying. Keeping calm will encourage others to stay level-headed, if you raise your voice, it’s expected that tempers will flare. The end goal is to come to a resolution, by showing that you’re willing to sort out the issue in a mature way will help diminish negative feelings.

Working from home.

Believe it or not, confrontation can still happen even if you’re working from home! Working from home can sometimes create a strain on certain relationships, you may feel isolated from others if they are in the office and your position is now home-based.

Additionally, the fact that companies are now home-based can make it harder for employers to monitor the wellbeing of their employees, and sometimes conflict can go unnoticed. This can occur due to the misinterpretation of conversation virtually, rather than face-to-face. It’s very easy to misconstrue how someone is trying to say something when you can’t physically hear the tone of their voice, which can of course lead to confrontation.

Just because you’re working remotely, it doesn’t mean you can’t seek or give support. It’s important to check in with your colleagues through regular video calls, team calls can also be a good way of discussing each other’s feelings and strengthening bonds. If you’re an employer, perhaps make a regular slot for a team video call for a general chit-chat over a cup of tea to encourage light-hearted conversation!

Why does mental health training help?

Incorporating mental health training in the workplace is fantastic for teaching employees how to process their own emotions before understanding and helping their colleagues. Learning the appropriate way to act and communicate during sensitive situations can potentially be lifesaving, creating a healthy and happy working environment for the whole team.

This should hopefully encourage people to seek advice from their fellow employees and managers if they feel they have a safe and confidential space at work and can rely on their peers for support. You, as well as your colleagues, will also benefit from knowing that you have someone to speak to at work, which is invaluable.

The importance of a wellbeing strategy.

Creating a wellbeing strategy in the workplace will enhance the importance of good mental health across the company, therefore, people will be more mindful of the topic and the stigma of speaking about it will be broken.

By integrating a team of qualified mental health first aiders (MHFAs), employees will feel more confident in speaking about how they feel, and an extra sense of security will be provided. This can happen internally, as employees can enrol on a mental health training course, each offering unique skills and knowledge on mental health in the workplace.

Physical health, as well as mental health, needs to be looked after, you can help achieve this by supplying fresh fruit for your team each day, encouraging your employees to take regular breaks and participate in team bonding experiences just like our puppy therapy sessions.

Book a mental health training course with us.

If you would like to develop your own skills on mental health or would like your whole team to participate in mental health training, you’re at the right place! We offer a range of MHFA England accredited courses to train and educate people on how to help improve their own and other’s mental health in the workplace. Click here to find out more about the courses we offer, along with group discounts and how to sign up. We look forward to working with you soon!

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