6 Ways to Deal with Workplace Conflict

By Alyssa Laffitte on July 5, 2018

Conflict in the workplace is a big problem. It will affect not only your performance at your job, but your satisfaction, too. But thankfully, conflicts can be resolved. Here are some tips on how to handle workplace conflict, including some strategies for conflict resolution.

image via Isorepublic.com

Try to resolve it before it escalates

When a conflict is left unresolved and allowed to escalate, it can cause people to bottle up emotions and to be passive aggressive. After some time, someone might burst from holding in all those emotions. This will not be pretty, and of course, it will affect the quality of your work. So, try to resolve the conflict before it gets to that point. This will save you from many headaches!

Try to resolve it among yourselves before involving anyone else

Try talking through the conflict, just the two of you, before involving anyone else. Your boss and your company’s HR department are busy, they don’t need to deal with yet another employee conflict. Instead, talk to each other in a neutral space (in other words, not your office and not their office) that’s free of distraction. If you two can’t come up with a solution on your own, then feel free to involve other people, higher up in the chain.

Try to get to the root of the problem

Many times, in order to solve the conflict, you need to look past the surface. If you just look on the surface, you will only be solving the symptoms, not the problem itself. On the other hand, if you figure out the root of the problem, you can focus your energy on solving that, rather than just resolving the symptoms. In the next few points, we’ll talk about how to get to the root of the problem, so you can reach an effective solution.

Listen to the other person with understanding

Part of resolving a conflict is communicating, which involves listening to the other person with understanding. Let them speak uninterrupted. Obviously, we are all different, and we have differing points of view. Try to understand theirs. Do your best to step out own head. Focus on the problem rather than on the person. Of course, expect the same respect from them, conflict resolution must be mutual. Again, seek someone higher up if you can’t resolve it yourselves.

Use the common strategies for conflict resolution

According to Chron, there are five main conflict management strategies. Read about each of the strategies and figure out which one works best for your particular situation.

  • Accommodating: one person submits to the wants of the other person. In other words, you let go of what you want so the other person can have what they want. (This strategy works if you realize the problem is not that important anyway.)
  • Avoiding: ignoring or putting off the conflict. (This is not the best strategy, as I mentioned earlier that unresolved conflict can lead to bottled up emotions!)
  • Collaborating: multiple people come together to create a new solution to the conflict.
  • Compromising: both people agree to give up a little bit of what they want, but they also receive a little bit of what they want, too. (This is the most popular conflict resolution strategy.)
  • Competing: one person wins, the other person loses. The losing side submits to the wants of the winning side. (This strategy works best if decisive action needs to be taken immediately.)

There is a reason these strategies for conflict resolution are so popular. Choose one to apply to your situation.

Try to avoid getting involved in conflict in the first place

Now let’s discuss the best way to resolve conflict: avoid getting into it in the first place! Here are some ways to help you avoid getting into a conflict at your workplace.

  1. Only talk about professional matters while you are at work. Avoid telling your co-workers much about your personal life.
  2. Do not participate in any form of gossip. Just listening to gossip is participating in it. Plus, if they are talking about someone else to you, then they’ll likely talk about you to someone else. These are the people that will start drama and conflict. Avoid them!
  3. Do not talk about other people. This goes with the previous point, but it’s worth restating. If you talk about someone else, it’s easy for your words to be twisted and to start a conflict. To prevent this, have a general policy of not talking about other people.
  4. Be positive. You don’t have to be cheerful all the time (because no one is!), but don’t be constantly complaining or being a “negative Nancy.” This will just cause conflict.

Prevention is the best way to avoid getting involved in a conflict. Don’t be a gossip or a bully, and don’t hang out with gossips or bullies.

Unfortunately, we are all likely to fall into a conflict sooner or later. But the good news is that these conflicts can be resolved! Follow these tips and the conflict resolution strategies, and you should be good to go.

22, ISFJ. Biology student. College lifestyle blogger. Avid reader and writer. Dog lover. Nerd. Boyband enthusiast. Superhero in training. Here to help you become the best you can be!

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