Career Advice Workplace Culture

Ways to Deal with Workplace Conflict

Unfortunately, it will not be possible for you to get along with everyone you work with… Workplaces are full of distinct viewpoints and personalities. So, it is only natural to butt heads every now and then. Whether it is that you disagree on how to carry out a job, or you just have a clash of different personalities. But how you manage is what really matters. To ensure that your workplace conflicts do not affect your productivity, follow these tips on how to handle conflict in the workplace.

The loss of staff can have serious effects on a business. In fact, researches have suggested that it can cost a business as much as $30k per employee because of a decrease in output, extra training, and resourcing.

To handle conflict effectively you must be a great communicator. That includes creating an open communication environment in your unit by supporting employees to speak about the work issues. To create a happy workplace, you must listen to employee concerns. This will foster an open environment. Ensure that you understand what employees are asking from you and focus on their perception of the issue.

No matter whether you have two employees who are fighting for a place next to the window or one employee who wants to switch on the AC and another one who does not, your immediate response to deal with the situation is important. Here are a few tips on how to create a happy workplace.

How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace

  • Identify the problem- Never think that the problem will vanish of its own. Sure, it might seem simpler to drown out the noise with your playlist or pretend to be “too busy” – but none of these are long-term solutions. In fact, the problem will keep on haunting you in the long run. It can also affect your productivity, mainly if it acts as a roadblock for a task that you are working on at the same time. Instead, actively acknowledge the conflict and find the reasons behind it. Is that you are disagreeing on how you should do a task? Is it because of being overworked? Or are there any personality differences? Whatever is the problem, understanding why it is resulting in a conflict is the first step to solve it.
  • Be emotionally smart- Nobody is perfect. It is a reality that everybody should accept. And during an argument, conflict, or debate, it can be all too simple to act out of frustration or anger. But not only are these feelings unlikely to show a rational outlook on this situation. However, voicing them could also worsen things. Mainly if the issue turns to be just a misunderstanding. So, how can you avoid lashing out, and potentially saying something that you do not mean? At first, figure out how you are feeling and why you are feeling it before you express. Whether you are angry, confused, or upset, understanding the cause behind these feelings will help you to determine the root cause of the problem. And finally, how can you solve it. Once you have figured this, it will be easier for you to speak logically with your manager or colleague.
  • Do not make it personal- The worst thing that can be done is to attack the person instead of the issue. Assuming someone’s personality is the cause of the problem might be something you do on compulsion, but you must be talking about their actions and behaviour; and how are they affecting you as well as the situation. Although you might disagree on this issue or topic- that does not make any of you a bad person. It’s just both of you have different views.
  • Confront the conflict- Ok, so you know what the problem is. Now, it is time to face it. Discussing the dispute can be hard, mainly if you are not a fan of confrontation. However, maybe the other person is on a similar page when it comes to how you see the problem, and how you want to approach the issue. So, arrange a time where you both can speak freely-ideally face-to-face.
  • Collaborate with other party on how to handle the conflict

Many workplace conflicts are caused due to misunderstandings. You may say one thing and your colleague may interpret it in a different way. This is inevitable, as the online world means that we are repeatedly messaging on messenger or slack, working remotely and, potentially have not met many of the team members in person. This can worsen the situation and can cause team conflicts as a team has different personalities who have different communication preference, different point of view, etc.


Inviting the other party for collaboration provides them a chance, showing that you are open to their requirements, are interested in listening, and that you understand that handling the conflict in the workplace is a two-way method. And let us not forget that they may deliver some insight on how to communicate with them in the best way.

  • Always keep the conversation goal-oriented

Keeping things goal-oriented is second nature to many Project Managers as it is inherent to our jobs. Unfortunately, it is overlooked while translating a directly measurable framework into something as messy and emotional as dealing with workplace conflict.

All of us know why conflict resolution is good, but what are the major benefits that you can tie to a specific conflict? While assessing how to promote wellness in the workplace and how to handle conflict with a colleague, you may find that they are more open to discussion when you surface your objective. For instance, “I want to have a look at our procedure so that we can catch this next time”, “I want to know how I can do better” all establish a two-way method. This is important while dealing with conflict in the workplace and make face to face meetings successful.

  • Have a face-to-face meeting

One of the important tips on how to handle conflict in the workplace is a face-to-face meetings. There might be many introverts in the team. They might not feel free to tell about the issue in front of everyone. So, as a team player you should always have a one-on-one conversation. Dealing with conflict in person can be tricky, and comes with a few cautions, but is nonetheless incredibly vital to support other types of conflict resolution methods.

  • Find an opportunity to admit you were on the wrong side

Focusing on you and your team’s behavior is one of the important conflict resolution methods. We build processes’ evaluating our own behavior as the people driving procedure is mandatory to flag breakdowns in communication, bottlenecks, and where expectations could be set better. Let us face it, there is always something that we can do better for our clients and teams.

Discussing about something you would like to do in the future creates an open atmosphere for others. It helps them to calculate their own behavior. The more often you do this, the stronger this aspect of your own team’s culture becomes. If everyone feels safe while surfacing their own missteps, questions on how to handle conflict at the workplace becomes secondary. The ultimate result will be a happy workplace!

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