Conflict at work is inevitable. But are you part of the problem or the solution? We all have some level of influence in making peace at work.
No peace at work?
If you were a fan of “The Office” you’ll remember that many episodes included some form of workplace conflict.
Angela was upset that Pam didn’t invite her to her wedding. Meredith was the subject of office gossip. Pam and Jim ganged up on Dwight, and Dwight was a tattletale. The HR guy Toby had his hands full and his unhappy face showed it.
While we laugh at many of these scenarios, the sad thing is that art really does imitate reality. If you find that your workplace is less than peaceful, remember that the only person you can control is you.
Scripture talks about personal responsibility for peaceful living in Roman 12:18: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
So, stop waiting for someone else to create peace at work. Start with you.
Tips for Making Peace at Work
Here are a few practical ways to exercise your faith and start making peace at work.
1. Don’t gossip.
Office gossip can range from talking about embarrassing antics at an office party to whispers about who made mistakes that cost the company money.
Gossip is a trap.
One story leads to another and suddenly you find yourself listening to or spreading rumors about people and situations that don’t concern you. Worse yet, you probably don’t have all the facts, so spreading gossip may also mean spreading misinformation and negativity.
When others share gossip with you, don’t delight in the details. Let the story end with you and avoid offering additional “facts.” If people pry for information, shut them down by asking, “Why do you ask?”
Make peace at work by discouraging gossip and encouraging respect for all people.
2. Don’t take sides.
Taking sides in an office conflict goes hand in hand with gossip. We tend to believe that the stories we’ve heard or that our own observations tell the whole truth about a person or situation.
But more often than not, our perceptions are just that — our perceptions. They usually don’t include all the facts or capture the reality of a situation.
When a co-worker has a grievance, it doesn’t need to become your grievance, too.
You can bet that there are two sides to the story and the truth lies somewhere in between. If you’re a professional, then you’re way too old to act like you are in junior high. Be an adult and just walk away.
Make peace at work by caring for all of your co-workers and recognizing that your perceptions don’t represent the entire truth.
3. Be faithful.
You represent more than just yourself when you are in the workplace. You represent Christ, too.
When you’re at the office, you have to allow God to work in you and through you to bring peace where there is conflict.
Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.
Make peace at work by being an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Making peace at work may not be easy, but it’s a spiritual discipline. As you make changes in the way you respond to gossip and conflict, you will find that others will begin to notice.
Go ahead, get noticed at work! But let them notice you for being a positive influence and a peacemaker.