How to Manage Conflict in the Workplace


Conflict in the workplace is inevitable reality and is a major cause of stress, which affects employee’s productivity. When a problem occurs, usually it cannot be solved by itself, but rather it only grows deeper because people prefer to avoid those with whom they don’t get along, just to save themselves from some additional stress. Often big part of the daily tasks of the managers is to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings between teams and employees.

Here are some tips for an approach in conflict situation in order to keep your team functioning in the best way:

1. Listen to what both sides have to say.

Giving both sides the opportunity to share their side of the story gives a positive start in the conflict management process. Sometimes, talking openly about the issues can lead to a simple solution, which may be difficult to achieve before the issue is put in words. It has been shown that employees feel much better when they know they have opportunity to share their concerns and be heard. Therefore it is important to create a place where everyone will be able to share their feelings freely, without being criticized or feel uncomfortable.

2. Reach the root of the problem.

Individual or team interests in companies often differ and lead to a conflict. To understand why conflicts occur, why people engage in them and how to prevent conflicts is crucial for all managers. In real world, it’s easy to be said, but harder to be done, especially if you do not know the right approaches and techniques on how to put yourself in the role of conflict mediator. Knowing the story of both sides in details will help you get to the heart of problem and understand where differences come from.

3. Teach employees to respect differences.

Everyone brings different values, motivation, perceptions, ideas and desires. In a conflict situation, it is better to look at it objectively from both sides to understand what are the differences in opinion, what triggers them. Usually they are the root of the problem. In case of conflict, it is useful to encourage the concerned sides to find and use their strengths and thus to minimize the influence of the differences between the people involved.

4. Find common ground.

No matter how big the conflict is and how noticeable differences of opinion are, there is always something that both sides can agree on. Finding common ground is an important step in restoring the lost understanding and creating a ground for solving problems. Areas where you can look for a common ground to unite both sides are agreeing on the issue, agreeing on the worst-case scenario or agreeing on a small change, can create a more relaxed environment while working on the problem. The opportunity both sides to be involved in the conflict management process and the feeling that they have role in finding the solution can improve the chance of success.

Conflict management is not an easy task, especially when it comes to interpersonal conflict that gets more and more personal attributes. It is clear that not all conflicts are easy to resolve, but there are techniques, ways and methods that help people not to be afraid of a proactive approach for resolving the conflict in the workplace.

The right approach to conflict situations improves work performance and communication between employees and most importantly improves their effectiveness, because the conflict management contribute to a pleasant and unstressed working environment.

The need to provide our customers an opportunity to develop soft skills that help them reach their business goals, has created a new wave of business skills trainings,  that on the other hand develop new successful model of communication and business management.

ITCE actively conducts trainings that help employees see the conflict from another angle, to understand the roots and to acquire set of skills in various areas such as communication styles, psychology profiles, conflict management and understanding the end-to-end processes. If you think that such training will be useful for your organization, more information can be found on Conflict Management in Business Environment.


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