I was recently asked to write an article about ‘Workplace conflict for LGBT employees and their supervisors.’ As I thought about this and began to formulate the outline for the article, it occurred to me that many of the skills and tools I was explaining and strategies I advocated would be useful for ALL employees. Certainly LGBT workers have specific issues (I elaborate on this in the article), but don’t we all need help managing conflict in the workplace?
The question I raise applies to all workers: When you experience conflict with a co-worker or supervisor, what is your goal- end result you want to achieve? Maybe you want to get the offender fired, quit your job, request change in position or just avoid unpleasantness. Think about this and consider the possible outcomes of your actions. For example, if you attempt to get the offender fired, what happens if you don’t succeed? Will a long investigation in Human Resources serve a purpose for you? How will your co-workers be affected by your attempt to fire one of them?
Setting the goal for yourself is no easy task. Seeking revenge, avoiding, venting anger or just accepting misery are all options but are they really what you want to achieve? More on conflict to come and what to do once you determine your goal.