We often find ourselves in conflict, sometimes in our personal lives, sometimes in the workplace. Conflict is a part of life and learning to get along with others. We are all made differently, therefore we are not expected to behave and think the same way at each and every turn.

Today, I would like to focus mainly on the conflicts we face in the workplace — more so, the causes and solutions of these conflicts.

Each and every one of us goes into work with our own individual personality, our own brain, our own tongue, and our own baggage, also known as life experience. I believe how we handle each of these prized possessions is vital to the workplace environment.

It is my belief negativity is the root cause of the majority of conflict in the workplace; as it is highly contagious and extremely easy to catch. It can drain the positive energy right out of everything and everyone. Sound familiar? Think about how you felt the last time you spent time with someone in a negative state of mind.

Negativity survives by attracting others and draining their energy to fuel the fire necessary to keep the negative atmosphere going. It’s a vicious cycle which spreads quickly throughout the entire workplace. It sabotages productivity, performance and any enjoyment of the work day.

Negativity can be found in many forms — complaining, being cruel to others, talking badly about them behind their backs to other co-workers, concentrating on others mistakes, or even blaming them for your own unhappiness, just to name a few.

I also believe if we aren’t careful our negativity can become addictive and toxic.

So what do we do? You’re probably familiar with the saying whenever you point a finger at someone else, there are three others pointing back at you. That being said, perhaps instead of blaming, we might first take a look inward at what we might have done differently to change the outcome of a particular situation. I think if we do this, most of the time we will find there is almost always something we could have said or done differently to give the situation a better outcome for all. Each of us can learn from our mistakes, make adjustments, and grow from the experience.

Perhaps instead of chronic complaining about the things we blame for our unhappiness, we might consider owning our happiness and doing something to change our outlook and attitude. I mean after all, if it’s important enough for us to complain about daily to our co-workers, then we owe it ourselves to take action and make changes to improve ourselves. Making the decision to stop complaining is still a decision. It’s a start and it’s better than doing nothing. If we still aren’t happy in our daily work life, perhaps we’re looking at making a much bigger decision.

I think there is a very fine line between complaining and communicating about something we believe to be the cause of our unhappiness at work. I also believe a good rule of thumb is if we tell someone about something or someone we are unhappy with more than once, then we’re complaining. Doing it daily in the workplace makes it chronic and destructive to everyone involved.

It is my belief one of the most effective antidotes for negativity is kindness, pure and simple. This isn’t really complicated at all. The positive energy kindness brings can change the foulest of moods and the worst of attitudes.

I also believe we can each make a conscious decision to bring positivity into the workplace and put a stop to the negativity. I think it’s a pretty safe bet each of us remember being told as a child, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Perhaps it’s just time to shut up and do our part to make the work environment better for everyone.

If negativity seems to be taking over your workplace, I don’t need to tell you how unpleasant it can make your work day. Even if you are not directly involved, it still has an effect. One thing I personally find helpful when things happen beyond my control is to try and detach, at least temporarily. It helps me stay more calm and in control of my own mood, which in turn helps me control my response when necessary.

Detachment is not the same as indifference. Detachment is the acceptance of the good and the bad and staying balanced. It has much to do with inner peace, and inner peace is conducive to happiness.

When we can learn to put our heart into what we do, it has a way of changing our mind, our mood, and our environment; not to mention our day. This not only makes us feel better, it improves our mindset, as kindness is its own reward. Once we begin to focus on the big picture our eyes will be opened to a lot of things.

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