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EVEsdropping: How to Handle Conflict at Work

EVEsdropping: Pros and Cons of Having a Roommate
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Conflict at work is inevitable—but there are right and wrong ways to handle it. This week, we’re talking about how to deal with your co-workers as well as how to prevent conflict from happening. Plus, our girl Mindy Kaling is pregnant and we are HERE FOR IT.

What’s Happening in the News?

Real Talk: Dos and Don’ts of Handling Conflict at Work

  • According to a conflict study from CPP Inc (from 2008), 85% of employees report dealing with conflict to some degree.
  • Employees spend an average of 2.8 hours/week dealing with conflict.
  • Personality clashes are responsible for nearly ½ of all workplace conflicts
  • When is confrontation appropriate at work?
  • When it’s hindering your ability to work, if it’s become a hostile work environment, or if sexual harassment is involved.
  • Basically, when you can’t avoid it anymore

Our Personal Tips for Dealing With Work Conflict:

  • Don’t get emotional.
  • If it’s something small, like an out-of-the-blue mistake, send an email. If there’s an actual issue going on, schedule time to hash it out. But always try to work it out with the person you’re having a conflict with before you go above them to your boss or HR.
  • Communicate 24/7 to prevent future issues.
  • Suck it up. You’re not always going to get along with the people you work with; you just have to learn how to get along enough to be productive.

Tips From an Expert on Dealing With Work Conflict:

  • Dr. Maria Simpson, an executive coach, recommends that when you’re dealing with a conflict at work, you take the following steps:
  • Get emotional distance from the immediate situation;
  • Decide if a response is really necessary;
  • Define the clear goal or results you want from responding;
  • Plan the most appropriate response carefully; and
  • Make it work.

Read more ESL advice on office conflict here.


“I’m an assistant at a law firm. I take care of my boss’s correspondence and various others tasks he needs. Because of this I hear a lot about his personal life too. Not only that, he tells me way more about his personal life than is work appropriate. For example he once texted me that his child (who’s doesn’t live with him) was throwing a tantrum and he didn’t know what to do, or about a car accident he left without reporting anything. Last week it got to the worst point. He sent me a drunk text that he was sorry it had to end this way, and I thought he was firing me. It turned out he had some kind of mental break? He told me he was seeking professional help and now we haven’t had communication in a week. It makes me feel uncomfortable, but if I don’t talk to him then who will? He needs someone, I just wish it wasn’t me. There is also the fact that I don’t want to be fired; if I am cold-hearted to him will he want to keep me around?”

What We’re Loving This Week

  • Elise: Soap and Glory. I tried their The Righteous Butter Instant Sunkissed Tint Body Lotion for the video we shot today and I am OBSESSED. It’s just the right amount of color so I don’t look pasty but I also still look like myself. And it washes off completely when you take a shower. You can find it at Target or by using our link:
  • Meleah: My Day Designer has put the spark back in our relationship — by which I mean work is hectic and I’d be crazy without it.

Boss/Adulting Moment

  • Elise: I successfully went on vacation and didn’t check my work emails. I turned off all notifications, including Slack. It was wonderful.
  • Meleah: I made time this weekend to volunteer with my little sister at the animal shelter and it was really great. Not only were the dogs and kittens really cute, but I also met some cool new people.

Don’t forget to subscribe to EVEsdropping on iTunes and/or Podbean and use the hashtag #JustEVEsdropping on Twitter! Also, send your Dear HBIC questions to

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