Conflict Resolution in the Workplace: 5 Things to Know

Posted by April Parks, M.S. Conflict Management

Dec 4, 2014 5:30:00 AM

Conflict ResolutionAccording to a workplace conflict study in 2008, 85% of employees said they experienced conflict and of those, 29% said conflict occurred quite often or always. This alone means that managers and companies need to have a good strategy to tackle conflict right away before it escalates into something greater.

There are many different causes of conflict: personality clashes, trustworthiness, stress, poor leadership, etc., but there are a few things anyone can do to halt a conflict from erupting into a catastrophe. It doesn’t matter if you are a manager or not, knowing helpful tips for conflict resolution in the workplace is never a useless thing.

Here are 5 tips for approaching conflict in the workplace:

  1. Don’t avoid the problem. This is the first and most important thing you can learn. Many people view conflict as scary and they don’t want to have anything to do with it. Avoiding conflict is the worst thing to do because that one issue will snowball into a very large issue. Be proactive! Why put off tomorrow what you can do today?
  2. Listen to the issues of all parties involved. If only one side of the complaint is heard, then the conflict won’t be solved and it will likely come up again at a later date. Have an open discussion to let employees say how they feel about the situation, how it effects their work, and their ideas on how to make it better. Make sure that all those involved are heard.
  3. Assure employees of their capabilities as a professional and as an adult that they can solve the problem at hand. Each person is on the team for specific reasons. Encourage them to use their skills to reach an agreement with the parties involved so they can get back to other tasks.
  4. Look towards the future, don’t dwell on the past. The best thing to do when resolving conflict is to start fresh. Once an agreement is reached, that agreement should include moving forward. There are personal career aspirations to focus on as well as goals to be met within the company, which are both important to the company’s overall success. Don’t hold grudges; be the person that’s ready and willing to make moves into a brighter future.
  5. Use this as an opportunity of growth, whether it is professionally or personally. Everyone can leave the conflict with some takeaways: how to communicate better, how to improve listening skills, how to approach conflict in the future, how to be open and assertive during discussion. Whatever the case may be, there’s a chance for learning during this process. Use that time to better yourself as an employee.

While this is a very condensed list of how to resolve conflict in the workplace, it can be very useful. When you know how to approach conflict correctly, you and your company both will see the repercussions of effective conflict resolution in the workplace and how it benefits every person. Use these tips and you will see a change in how much better conflict can be handled in the workplace.

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