Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Many of the people I speak with are constantly dealing with anxiety because of conflicts at work. People put off conflict more in work environments because they fear losing their job, so they put up with unhealthy circumstances for much longer. Conflict is a top trigger for stress and anxiety. To work through conflict, you need to assess the situation in a healthy way to determine if you need to leave.
Below are the steps I take when conflict arises in the workforce. I have developed these steps straight out of Matthew 18:15–17. It is true that Matthew 18 talks about correcting another believer in a church context. Still, in my experience, these steps have worked tremendously well, even when dealing with people who are not believers. Remember, refusing to hit conflict head-on and quickly will keep smoke alarms going off regularly.
If you are in conflict with someone, request a private meeting. The worst mistake made during arguments is making a spectacle out of something that should be kept private. Be clear and concise on why you are hurt and what you would like to see happen moving forward. Be humble and open to areas you can improve in as well.
If the first step does not bring resolution, ask for a mediator to be present, and work through Step 1 again.
If the second step doesn’t work, you can bring your case to a higher authority, like a boss over the person you’re in conflict with or the human resources department.
If there is no resolution after Step 3, it’s time to remove yourself from the situation prayerfully. The cost of staying in a toxic environment for far too long is not worth it to your health. God would not want you to stay in an unhealthy situation either, especially if you have remained humble and have walked through all the proper steps to resolve the conflict. At times, peace won’t be possible because the other person is unwilling to act peacefully. Then I recommend we lean into this powerful promise: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18 NIV). You do your best, and let God do the rest. When forced to leave a toxic work environment, we must trust him.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Miranda Carls of the Word at Work podcast. We had a beautiful conversation discussing the topic of work-induced anxiety and stress. If anxiety around the workplace plays a factor in your day-to-day, check out that episode here.
Please stick with me for one more important note. If you've been with me since the beginning of Fearless, you know that what started as a small support group in a library has grown. We are now a ministry that serves thousands each year through our many programs and resources. As we continue to see anxiety and depression run rampant through the hearts and minds of our world, we need your support now more than ever!
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