Conflict in the workplace is inevitable.
So how can we set ourselves up to deal with conflict as constructively and professionally as possible?
After all, conflict is a necessary - and healthy - element of all human relationships. The key is to make sure that bottled up emotions and/or uncontrolled outbursts don't lead to toxicity in the workplace.
That's why we hosted an interactive chat with Sharon Ray, a conflict resolution expert with 25+ years of experience in HR.
"Anytime you deal with people, you're going to have some sort of disagreement or conflict. Conflict in the workplace is an exercise in persuasion. Being able to problem solve and find the best solution for both sides."
Sharon fielded questions from the PowerToFly community about how to deal with a number of examples of conflict in the workplace.
Scenario 1 — You get off on the wrong foot with a new coworker
You get off on the wrong foot with a new coworker.
They ask you for help responding to a customer inquiry, but you refuse to lend a hand because you are working on a tight deadline and don't want to waste time. There has been tension between you two ever since, and now you need their help on a project, but they're not being very responsive.
How do you recover?
Go own it! Find an appropriate time to walk up to them and say,"I understand that we got off on the wrong foot. My apologies for that. What I'm trying to resolve is X. Can we have a conversation about that?"
Regardless of who the conflict is with - an employee, your boss, etc., they'll think more highly of you if you demonstrate self-awareness. The conversation may be awkward, but that's better than a tense relationship that could last years all because you got off on the wrong foot.
Key Focus: It's all about how you approach the situation.
Try to maintain respect in the conversation and understand that it does not mean that you're going to love each other at the end of it. At the end of the day you are trying to resolve something so that you can move forward and execute on whatever project or plan you need to deliver.
Scenario 2 — Someone sends you urgent requests after hours
You're frustrated because your colleague in France keeps messaging you at 5am (your time). They send you seemingly urgent requests when you're sleeping or just waking up, and you're sick of being bombarded with 11 requests before you've even sat down at your desk. You get the vibe they don't like you very much and you don't know how to approach them.
Avoiding confrontation is making your situation worse, not better! Schedule a time to chat with them via phone or video call.
Bring the spirit of collaboration to the table!
Uncover the root of the problem by asking questions - "Is there any particular reason you send me requests before I'm up? Am I responding to you too late?"
Once you understand why they're doing it, you can help them articulate their needs. Maybe they send you 11 messages at 6am because that's right before their lunchtime, and they don't want to forget their questions when they go on break.
Now figure out a solution that works for both of you. Can they send themselves a reminder on Slack to ping you with their questions when you're at your desk? Can you just ignore their messages until you clock in now that you understand they're not time sensitive? Should you schedule a morning check in to go over these requests in real time rather than via message?
Key Focus: Have a candid conversation to ease any tensions long distance can bring.
Scenario 3 — Things got awkward between you and your work friend after you got a promotion
You got a promotion that your friend at work was also gunning for. Now things are awkward between you two. You definitely want to keep the friendship going, but they aren't even speaking to you outside of team meetings.
Sharon suggests going up to the person and owning it. Tell them that you know it's an uncomfortable situation and that you'd like to continue the relationship. These situations are tough, but radical candor is important - learn more about how to practice it in the workplace here.
Key Focus: Be proactive. Break the ice. Figure out how to work together.
Important Note: Never apologize for your promotion/moving your career forward. Prepare to be content with the other person's decision if they are no longer interested in continuing the friendship.
Don't see your specific scenario listed above? Feel free to check out the full video for more examples of conflict in the workplace scenarios - and solutions!
Here are some highlighted questions from the chat and learn:
- What steps should I be taking to resolve conflicts at work? (4:21)
- What if the company you work for does not have an HR department, Should we expect the owner of the company to be the mediator? If so, are there tools he/she could reference when dealing with this type of situation? (4:29)
- How do I know when to escalate an issue with a coworker? (10:35)
- What are some suggestions to implement when management refuses to address issues of conflict? (10:42)
- I feel like my team is always combating my ideas. How do I address this? (17:47)
- How does one approach a manager who is part of the conflict without being scared to bring up the issue? (17:55)
- As a manager, how can I help my team address conflict better? (29:20)
- Could you please talk about conflict resolution and remote/international teams who may have geographical and cultural differences? (43:08)
- How do you best approach a coworker (same tenure) who's not doing their share of the work, while being respectful/not coming across as a manager/supervisor? (44:48)
- How do you think conflict can be an avenue for innovation? (47:34)
We'll leave you with some parting words from Sharon: "Whatever the scenario, keep in mind that we are human, and will face conflict. How we resolve that conflict is key."
To celebrate the holidays, we hosted our 3rd annual "Secret Snowflake."
At PowerToFly, we're a small remote team spanning 12 different countries. We have a variety of backgrounds and beliefs, and we all celebrate different holidays. So, instead of your typical "office holiday party," we have a "Secret Snowflake," where each employee is randomly assigned another employee and donates $10 to a charity in their honor.
This gives us the opportunity to learn more about our Secret Snowflakes and get to know their teammates at the same time, as we ask around to learn more about our Snowflakes' interests, hobbies, and passions. (And of course, to contribute to some great causes.)
We spent time getting to know people we don't typically interact with on a day-to-day basis, while discovering charities and foundations all over the globe! Because we're all in different timezones, "small talk" isn't something we usually get to do a lot of, so meetings like this, where we have the opportunity to learn more about each other, are really special.
Here is the complete list of organizations that benefited from our Secret Snowflake. Of course, if you get inspired, feel free to reach out to any of these orgs with more holiday love.
- Pets in Spain
- Swim Across America
- The Humane Center for Animal Welfare: HCAW Humane Hero Program
- Leveling the Playing Field
- Little Paws
- Maumee Valley Save-a-Pet
- New Beginning Animal Rescue
- Palestinian American Council
- Centro de ayuda a la familias inmigrantes, Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Consolacion
- A Child's Place
- Girls in Tech
- World of Life Fellowship
- Crayons to Classrooms
- National Center of Transgender Equality
- A Shared Vision
- CASA New Orleans
- Elina Svitolina Foundation
- Ajpa Junín Ajpa
- Happy Home Ukraine
- Hogar Amor De Galgo
- Feeding America
- The Global FoodBanking Network
- Gates Philanthropy Partners
- Global Fund For Women: Champions for Equality
- Science Voices
- Faraja Cancer Support Trust
- Fundación Hearts of Gold
- MADRE, an International Women's Human Rights Org
- Valuable Girl Project
- Universal Peace Federation
- Heifer International
- Inside Broadway
- National Military Family Association
- Proyecto 4 Patas
- Rotary International
- St Vincent de Paul Society
- St Jude Children's Research Hospital
- Surfrider Foundation
- Teatro Centro de Arte
- The Trevor Project
- Voice for the Animals Foundation
- WWF: Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina
We Loved Meeting S&P Global's Women Tech Leaders in Denver. Watch what attendees have to say about our event.
About The Event: Hosted by PowerToFly's CEO Milena Berry, this special invite-only evening began with a keynote address by Marcus Daley, CTO, S&P Global Ratings, who spoke more about S&P Global's mission and company culture. Next up, Grace Bang, Data Scientist, Product Development, walked our audience through a product demo on Project Discovery, an AI-driven system that augments and enhances the analytical process.
Read about the event here.
- and more!
Learn more about S&P Global's open roles here.
We networked with career-building women at our recent event with Carvana.
Hear what attendee Wanda Miles has to say about diversity in the workplace and PowerToFly.
"What I love most about PowerToFly is it's focus on identifying and developing women leaders through working with corporations who are dedicated to finding those women and bringing them into their companies...looking to expand diversity not only in the women and leaders, but also diversity of thought. And also recognizing that women have different circumstances, be it a need to work from home to take care of a child or others, and being able to accommodate those needs." - Wanda Miles
Don't miss the next event! Make a profile on PowerToFly and follow your favorite companies to stay in the loop.
Learn more about Carvana's work-culture, their open roles, work perks and benefits here.
WE'RE DISRUPTING THE AUTO INDUSTRY
At Carvana, we sell cars, but we're not salespeople. Car shopping is known, universally, as a terrible process with no end to consumer pain points though the experience. And it's been this way for over 75 years. That's why we started.
Since 2013, we've been making it our mission to change the way people buy cars. Our goal is to completely change the way people, search, purchase, trade-in, finance, and receive Carvana certified vehicles. This means we're a disruptor; a passionate bunch that is dedicated to building, doing, and creating something amazing.
For more information on Carvana, take a look at our company introduction video.
Doing our part to change the car buying status quo takes some outside-the-box thinking. That means we're seeking daring minds who can help us remain ahead of the curve, and are committed to making a difference.
WE DIG GOOD PEOPLE
We hire quality character over impressive skill set every single time. We're seeking individuals who are tenacious, confident, and respectful, while still being able to crack a well-timed joke or two. If you like people and enjoy a positive, yet challenging and fun, work environment — we want you.