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Escaping the pitfalls of office distractions

With many office disagreements, the source is often a clash of personalities and expectations. Rigidity and insecurities also play a big role in triggering conflicts. These factors are far from what surfaces as an immediate cause of the clash.

For many people who often find themselves at odds with coworkers, it could be helpful to explore and investigate the core trigger of these disagreements. By doing so, they will be able to avoid these clashes, improve their standing in the workplace and learn about their professional insecurities that may be distracting them from focusing on better performance and advancement.

To get started, people have to set aside the details of any specific issue. The entire scenario of who said what, emails, verbal exchanges and the like is just how the problem manifested itself. If they want to know why they and others behaved in a particular way, they must look deeper and beyond these details.

For example, in many established workplaces, having a new management can be stressful, triggering some to compete for attention and others to fear for their jobs. These high emotions can be the actual cause of conflicts. Similarly, any sort of unexpected change where some people may rise in importance and others fall — or think that they are falling — in prominence can cause instability.

If you’re going through such issues at work, it may be time to look closely at the following areas.

Your personal life

Your career isn’t separable from the rest of your life. If you’re under pressures, you may have less tolerance for office shenanigans. In addition, if your pressures are financial, your job as a source of income suddenly becomes of top importance, and any thought of losing it becomes quite disturbing to your emotional peace.

Your personal life can also be contributing to your stress at work, if you’re at a stage where you’re trying to establish your social status, be in a better financial position, or simply go forward faster than your job allows and provides. This could create a sort of implicit resentment the comes out in outbursts or hopes for a job change.

Your office environment

Change can always be hard. Even when it is not in the form of a management overhaul, it can be stressful for people who have settled into routines and systems to change their own ways.

Small changes in the office environment such as a new hire, a restructuring of the workplace, or even a change in work hours can disturb routine-driven staff, causing a chain effect of problems simply triggered by the inability to adapt to change.

For those who are more resilient, the changes may be unnoticeable — and the fallout becomes hard to comprehend. With that in mind, it is important for you to look around and try to figure out the cause of the problems. In the midst of a crisis, it may be hard to point out what appears to be a totally irrelevant factor as the cause.

But an understanding of your feelings and reactions, as well as those of others, can pay off in offsetting the impending troubles that come along with office problems.

Your perspective

Aside from external factors and your personal issues, your disagreements may be triggered by your perspective of your employer, supervisor or your own professional position. If you have developed some reservations about how the workplace is managed or about the qualifications of supervisors or other managers, you may be quick to oppose directions, rushing to judgement and trying to pick every opportunity to make a point that validates your view.

Awareness of your own reservations and views — and an ability to keep them in check — can go a long way in ensuring you don’t get into unnecessary conflicts. Keep in mind that even when you don’t fully enjoy your time with an employer, constant clashes just undermine any chances of improving the situation.

In addition, they sabotage your image as a team player. And that doesn’t help if your goal is to work thing out.

Understanding work clashes

Look beyond immediate causes.

Understand the impact of change.

Be aware of insecurities and fears.

Keep your views and concerns in check.

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.comGN
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor