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March 19, 2017

How to Handle a Conflict with Your Manager

No matter how well you get along with your manager, there will be times when you disagree and may find yourself in conflict with him or her. How you handle this kind of conflict can either help or harm your future relationship and your career. Here are some things to keep in mind when you and your manager don’t see eye-to-eye.shutterstock_113537965

  • Step back and consider the situation. Conflict is not inevitable when people disagree with each other; you can always agree to disagree and not let it affect your relationship. Evaluate the situation objectively to determine if a real conflict exists or if it is something you can either ignore or live with. Time can be a valuable ally when handling conflict. Sometimes things just blow over and fade away without the need for action.
  • Consider your options. Writing down your thoughts and perceptions about the situation can give you distance and objectivity and help you organize your thoughts. If you believe that action is necessary, identify your options and the risks associated with each before choosing the most appropriate course.
  • Consider other points of view. Everyone has expectations and preferences about work and working relationships. People can step on your toes or push your buttons without being aware they are doing so. Observe your manager’s communication and leadership styles and how he or she acts with other employees. You may discover that what you think of as a conflict is your manger’s natural way of working or communicating. Gaining insight about your manager can help you respond appropriately.

If you decide to meet privately with your manager, be prepared to explain your perceptions objectively, and avoid letting emotion take over the meeting. Focus on what you have observed, express your concerns, and be assertive, but refrain from blaming. Your intention is to resolve the conflict in a way that allows you and your manager to continue to have a productive, satisfying relationship. See my blog post Getting Along with Your Manager for more information.

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