5 Career-Saving Tips for Managing Conflict with the Boss

Workplace Conflict60 to 80 percent of all work-related problems stem from strained relationships between employees.

So what can you do to manage conflict when it occurs, especially when that tension is between you and your direct manager?

Before steam comes out your ears and you fear for your job, consider the following ways to manage conflict with your boss:

Step 1: Take a Step Back and Assess the Situation

It’s important to take yourself out of the situation before having any discussions. You should determine the cause of the conflict between you and your boss. Does the issue stem from a personality conflict, or is there something larger going on?

If possible, you should document all incidences of this situation or issue (i.e., save old emails, voicemails or other documents that pertain to the situation). This will safeguard you in the event that the situation requires action from HR.

Step 2: Look at All Sides of the Issue

You need to analyze the situation and make sure you understand your boss’s side of the conflict. Does your boss have any determining factors that may be influencing his or her behavior or actions?

It’s also helpful to consider your boss’s personality — what makes them happy and what makes them angry? You’ll likely want to cater toward the former in your discussion.

Step 3: Avoid Gossip and Instead Talk Behind Closed Doors

The worst thing you can do is gossip with coworkers about the situation. Gossip in the workplace increases tension and deteriorates teamwork in the office. If you really need to talk to someone, do so behind closed doors.

Step 4: Discuss the Issue and Solution with Your Boss Privately and Professionally

If you’re fuming about an issue, it’s easy to forget you’re at work. But that’s exactly what you shouldn’t forget! Keep calm and stay professional when meeting with your boss privately. Discuss solutions to the problem in addition to the cause. This will facilitate a discussion – rather than an accusation.

Most important, listen to what your boss has to say regarding the conflict. It isn’t all about you.

Step 5: Wait It Out

Timing is often everything when managing conflict with a boss. Sometimes it makes more sense to wait it out than confront the situation head on. If your boss has a lot on his or her plate this month, their stress level may be high and they might not take as kindly to your issues.

If you find that waiting it out and confronting your boss isn’t solving the conflict, don’t hesitate to contact your HR representative to set up a meeting. Regardless of the situation, keep your behavior professional and know you’re not the first to incur conflict with your boss!

If you’ve had issues with a manager or boss, pass on your experience to what strategies helped you manage conflict. Add your comments, below!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!


KristenAbout the Author: Kristen Wishon holds an M.S. and B.S. in journalism with a concentration in public relations and a minor in art history from West Virginia University (WVU). Prior to joining Come Recommended, Kristen gained public relations, editorial and promotional writing, and social media experience through several health & pharmacy-focused internships in West Virginia.

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