Are you taking the right approach to workplace squabbles? Read the following four statements and mark each one “True” or “False.” Then check your answers below.

  1. When you begin to discuss an unpleasant situation, you should not leave until you resolve the problem. True or False?
  2. You should begin a conflict discussion by stating your position and presenting a solution. True or False?
  3. Once you realize that you have a problem, you should confront the person as soon as possible. True or False?


  1. False, if a co-worker becomes irate, irrational or defensive, you should agree to continue the discussion later. A person in that condition is unable to negotiate or seek solutions.
  2. False, stating your problem with the person is likely to trigger a defensive reaction. Instead, describe the negative effects the situation is having on your working relationship and on the team as a whole. Then ask your co-worker to suggest solutions.
  3. False, you should never enter a conflict discussion unprepared. Once you identify a problem, observe your interactions for a week or so and document the circumstances. That way, you will be prepared to offer specific examples.

Source: Communication Briefings- November 2010