People who tend to avoid conflict do not express what they think at the time of the problem. But their disagreements can accumulate to the point of creating a toxic environment at work. The alarm usually sounds when they tend to avoid sharing information to feel power over others, by not helping colleagues who feel insecure, or when there is a lack of collaboration.

These are some of the virulent behaviors that can affect the performance and health of workers, as indicated to El Periódico de España, from the Prensa Ibérica group, Álvaro Tejedor, head of the Psychoeducation area at Affor Healtha Spanish consultancy specialized in psychosocial prevention management and in charge of psychological health care at work.

Malpractice in interpersonal relationships between colleagues can, for example, generate added stress to a given possible workload. “Stress is a very important psychosocial risk and, precisely from leadership, the responsibility, care and commitment of leaders to their workers comes into play,” Tejedor detailed. And if, can confirm the existence of “toxic bosses.” In fact, it has been shown that a high percentage of workers leave their jobs for their managers. According to the future of work observatory Future For Work Institute, three out of four employees leave their position for reasons that have to do with their direct boss or their professional development.

The qualities of a toxic leader are mainly characterized by generating pressure, not collaborating with the training and concern for the progress of their workers in the workplace, not providing role clarity, or not rewarding or valuing the efforts of their workers. This causes lower performance, as well as motivation and physical and mental health.

The Communication styles vary depending on the culture that each worker has had during her personal development, as the American author explains Erin Meyer in his book The cultural map (Peninsula Editions, 2022). Recognized in the field of international business, in it she presents the eight points or differential scales of cultural traits. This provides the tools to effectively confront the most frequent communication challenges in the world of international relations. Not only for communication or leadership, but also for evaluation, trust or planning.

“We Spaniards are more communicative and we understand that conflict is part of everyday life,” concluded the social skills specialist. We are committed to bonds unlike other European cultures that focus more on performance and productivity.

Conflict management according to Afor Health.

Should the boss be present in the discussion?

Whether or not the boss should be present in the discussion between colleagues will depend on the circumstances. soft skills (soft skills) that each person has and how prepared they feel to express their lack of conformity with the other. It is important measure the extent to which one feels prepared to communicate in a clear and healthy way or, on the contrary, you may be overwhelmed by the situation and need your superior to deal with it.

This can be observed in physical or emotional symptoms such as lack of sleep, problems resting and even disconnecting. If you suffer from any of these signs, it will make you more susceptible and skip the minimum. Therefore, conflict is looming.

As a solution, the company will have a path or a procedure of action that serves as a guide and does not generate additional concern for the worker: “You have to look at the management capacity of the person responsible. Unfortunately, not all of them are good mediators, nor do they have enough empathy to understand the situation or to take sides.”

Of course, the company has the responsibility of providing employees with the necessary conditions to be able to perform their work well, involving psychosocial factors and optimal conditions for the worker without affecting their health.

Before accumulating, it is better to speak

Training ourselves in assertiveness means enhancing negotiation skills, protecting self-esteem, defining limits and seducing the other party so that they understand our point of view. “No one in the history of humanity has woken up one day and said I’m going to be a bad partner.” What happens is a lack of understanding. The key is to find the motivation that caused a colleague’s out-of-character behavior.

Why has he reacted like this? Comes into play empathy and the assertiveness to reach an agreement and not get carried away by the tense situation that conflict entails by definition. However, this “it can be an opportunity”, because this way we understand what is not working for one of the parties and gives the option of reaching a scenario of understanding for both parties. If this conversation with disparity of opinions does not occur, that tension and frustration due to the lack of communication of needs continues to be felt in the environment.

Tejedor has indicated to this medium that in conflict management itself the sincerity that one has with oneself can be altered. For example, the famous phrase: “It doesn’t affect me that much” can be the best excuse to avoid that uncomfortable conversation. Therefore, honesty is decisive and the more practice, the better the results.

Knowing how to navigate a discussion requires experience, just like driving a vehicle. The greater the number of kilometers, the greater the experience and safety behind the wheel. The same goes for problem solving. “You learn tools and resources that can be applied at a certain time. The sooner you start to practice and develop your skills, the better,” says the expert.

He Humor plays a determining role in conflict resolution. And it is a very serious matter. “It is a very powerful poison. A small dose is enough to unclog the pipes of understanding,” reflects author Jorge Freire in his book The banality of good. Therefore, realizing what is happening to the other person will awaken a work environment in which conciliation and understanding are one of the pillars.

How to deal with a coworker who avoids you

How many times have we encountered people who reject conflict and who do not feel comfortable in this area? This exchange of ideas may generate a priori a setback, but it really translates into progress and advancement to improve the working relationship between the team.

“I understand that you don’t do it with bad intentions, but this is affecting me,” can be a valid and conciliatory option to start the conversation, says Tejedor. Empathy and assertiveness are necessary to educate, especially if you have a position of responsibility. “In the short term, the avoidant wins because he is comfortable and the aggressive because he gets what he wants,” he says.

But, in the long term, being aggressive makes the good people on your team leave your side and become less motivated. While the passive ends up getting tired for not having been able to convey his preferences and needs, the expert in leadership development and training of managers has finished.