How To Handle Conflict In The Workplace


We will all come across some form of conflict at work during our professional lives. Whether it’s a conflict between other co-workers or something that we are directly involved in, it’s important to know how to deal with the situation so that it doesn’t balloon out of control.

How To Handle Conflict In The Workplace
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No matter what company you work for, or whether you are a regular employee or a team leader, you will come into conflict with other people sooner or later. This usually happens because people in the workplace have different views on problem-solving and different temperaments.

Even though many people like to avoid conflict, it is best to work directly on resolving it, as it can escalate greatly over time. Directly addressing the problem is a better way to resolve it than pushing it under the rug and letting it boil. Let’s take a look at what steps should be taken to reduce conflict in the workplace and to have it resolved in the correct way.

Establish Rules

The first line of defense against conflicts are rules: They serve to give certain liberties to employees, but also demonstrate which types of behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Luckily, with software tools such as LMS software or knowledge base, sharing this information with employees is fairly easy.

Additionally, this information can also be included in the employee handbook, induction and safety training and on-going training, as conflicts can lead to serious psychological and physical abuse in the workplace. The stricter the rules are, the better as It is a great conflict prevention method.

Work On Conflict Prevention

Don’t believe that just because you have set up rules that forbid conflict and punish it, that you have solved a problem. We are all humans and, over time, all of us tend to lose patience, especially if there is a deadline looming in the background.

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If you are a team leader, it’s important you pay attention to the relationships between employees and immediately address any issue that you can see occurring before it blows up in a devastating conflict.

If you are a co-worker then it is equally important that you take note of any tensions building between your colleagues (or between yourself and a colleague) and do your best to diffuse the situation, whether that be by directly intervening, bringing it to your managers attention or if you’re involved simply walking away to cool down may help.

A quick response is the best approach you can pick. The moment you notice some tensions arising, it is best to deal with them immediately. This will prevent any serious problem from occurring, especially in the long run, when solving a conflict is a much bigger challenge.

Educate Employees On Being More Understanding

Each of us has a way of getting tasks and problems resolved. However, this can be problematic when working in a team, especially when one person is stubborn and doesn’t want to look at problem-solving from a different perspective. One of the most challenging things that any person struggles with is accepting that they are wrong. Instead of admitting it, people are ready to create serious conflicts.

This is something that the whole company can help with. Providing education for your employees can help them become much more understanding, less stubborn and more open-minded. Taking these steps will make it easier for you to establish a different atmosphere in your company. It will help your company become a place where people are far more understanding and ready to work together on meeting their tasks. Furthermore, it will reduce the number of arising conflicts.

Pick the right approach and educate your employees on how to be more understanding of others, it will help prevent countless issues in the long run.

Revise Your Position In The Conflict

If you are a participant of the conflict, you should take a serious look at your stance. How are you addressing the issue? Are you insulting the person you are talking with? Are you really right about the claims you are making? Are you being fair, balanced and non-judgemental?

Being self-aware is challenging for many people, but being stubborn does not make you right. Therefore, once the conflict is over, take a look at all of your actions and challenge yourself by taking a look at whether you were right or wrong.

If you are ready to admit to yourself that you might have made a mistake, it is crucial to approach the person you had the conflict with and apologize. This goes a long way, as it can prevent future conflicts from occurring. Additionally, it will show the whole company that you are a self-critical person. That will set an example for all the others to follow and become more understanding.

Conflict Is Only A Symptom

In the majority of scenarios, conflict is only a symptom of an underlying issue. Sometimes, it is a problem with communication, on the other hand, conflicts arise because someone is irritable because of a completely different reason. It is crucial to perceive what the actual cause of the problem is. Sometimes, achieving this task is quite challenging, as not all people are equally communicative.

However, finding the underlying cause is necessary because it is the only way of preventing the same thing from occurring in the future.

Work On Building Relationships

Even though you are spending a lot of time with someone at the office, you never get to know more about the person. This is why it is important to organize team building activities which are perfect for connecting people who work together on a daily basis.

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Through these activities, people get to improve their communication and get to know each other better. By bringing people closer together, you make the chances of any conflicts occurring significantly lower. The reason for this is an improvement in relationships, that also carries an increased level of tolerance and understanding.

Miscommunication is the most usual cause of conflicts, and by creating team building activities, you are going to improve employee communication, as they are more likely to share more in a more relaxed environment.


These are some ways in which you can lower and prevent conflicts in the future. The main focus of the whole company should be on actively working on communication. Therefore, make sure to work towards achieving this goal, as it will have positive effects on people over a longer period of time.

About The Author
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He has 7+ years of experience working with ProProfs learning management system and other eLearning authoring tools, which has given him a hands-on experience of the latest course authoring software and an exclusive insight into the eLearning industry.
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