The interviewer would like to know if a conflict in the workplace is a common occurrence or if you have to think long and hard to recall a time when you fought with a co-worker. We should all do our best to keep the peace in the workplace; however, that may not always be the case. Avoid extreme examples that will upset you. Instead, discuss a time when there was a miscommunication. Talk about how you smoothed the situation out and be sure to mention how your relationship with that co-worker ended up being harmonious in the end.
"Just last week I had a co-worker mad at me. This situation doesn't happen too often since I am easy to get along with but we had a big miscommunication. She was working off of the old schedule, and I was working off of the new one. She thought that I had not shown up for my shift when, in fact, it was my day off. We worked it out, and each apologized to each other for the gap in communication."
"I worked with an individual some time ago who was often upset with me for the speed at which I worked. I am a go-getter and a multi-tasker, and she felt that I was making her look bad since her pace was much slower. I assured her that it was just my busy-body personality and that my deliveries did not have anything to do with her. She was insecure about her performance, and it was not my responsibility to make her feel better about her work ethic, but I chose to remain a team player. I continued being my true self, and went about my business."
"As a manager, I will often have employees upset with me for changing the schedule, cutting hours back, terminating those who need to be let go, and more. I have harmonious relationships more often than not. I do like to get along with others; however, I will not sacrifice the good of the company just to be liked by others."
"In marketing, we will come across disagreements on creative direction from time to time. This situation rarely amounts to a full-blown conflict; however, it can when the stakes are high. Last year, upon approaching a significant deadline, I had a co-worker yell at me for not meeting a deadline. It turns out she had missed my email with the attached document that she needed. I stood up for myself and told her that she is not permitted to speak to me like that again. We eventually made up, but it took a few days for her to apologize for inappropriate office behavior."
"I worked with a guy, earlier in my retail career, who would blatantly steal sales and commissions. It was a terrible work environment, and I was always on edge. We would often argue about his behavior. I ended up leaving that job when I realized that the management team would not support my concerns. It was a lesson learned, and a valuable one. It's important to get along with your co-workers but also to feel comfortable in your workspace."
"Sales environments can often be stressful which can create more opportunities for conflict than certain other industries or job types. I recently had a co-worker angry with me when they thought I was poaching their client. What this colleague did not realize was that I had already added the lead into their sales funnel for them. We worked out the misunderstanding quickly, and I focused on building further trust with that individual."
"Great question! I have never experienced a full-blown conflict with a co-worker; however, my work has always been quite independent. Should I experience conflict with a co-worker, I would want to mend the situation as soon as possible. It's incredibly important to maintain a harmonious workplace environment, especially in the education sector."