It’s not always possible to avoid conflict from arising in the workplace, which is why it’s important to understand how you can help to resolve it. Read on to find out more…

If you’ve spent enough time in the workplace, you’ll be well aware that conflict can arise at any given opportunity. While the vast majority of conflicts tend to quickly resolve themselves, there are certain occasions where extra steps need to be taken to reach an amicable resolution. So, what can you do?

Whether you’re in a conflict yourself, or you’re an eagle-eyed observer, there are plenty of steps you can take to make sure that the workplace remains a harmonious environment for every colleague. That way, you can hopefully avoid the potential for a conflict to result in a dismissal or settlement agreement.

Be sure to keep reading for further details about some of the ways you help to resolve conflicts in your workplace.


10 Workplace Conflict Resolution Methods

1.)  Don’t Take a Passive Approach

Sometimes, it’s more than tempting to take a passive approach when it comes to responding to a conflict in the workplace. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

While it may be much less hassle to keep your head down and ignore any signs of conflict in the workplace, this isn’t going to be a sustainable or helpful approach. You should always seek to be proactive when conflict arises and play an active role in finding a resolution, rather than just watching from the side lines.


2.)  Determine a Shared Goal

Chances are, if a conflict arises in the workplace, colleagues will want to find a solution that not only favours their personal interests, but also that of the company. So, why not determine a shared goal?

One of the first steps that should be taken during conflict is to find things that you do agree on, so you can better contextualise what you don’t agree on. Make sense?


3.)  Get to the Bottom of What Has Caused the Conflict

An essential piece of advice to keep in mind when it comes resolving conflict in the workplace, is to focus on what the conflict is about, rather than who it is with. Naturally, you’re not always going to see eye to eye with every single colleague in your workspace, but you should always focus on maintaining amicable relationships where possible.

If you and a colleague disagree on the current direction a project is heading in, focus on finding a solution that will be in the best interests of said project, rather than resorting to butting heads.


4.)  Don’t Act on Impulse

When conflict arises in the workplace, the best way to approach the situation is with a calm, measured demeanour. If the situation becomes heated, acting on impulse will only make the situation more tense.

Take some time to plan out the points you want to make and, if the conflict is escalating, be sure to take a few moments to carefully consider what you want to say.


5.)  Be Prepared to Compromise

As we all know, things don’t always unfold exactly as we’d like. When conflicts arise in the workplace, you may need to be prepared to come to some compromises if you want to reach a suitable resolution.

The same goes if you’re trying to resolve a workplace conflict between two other colleagues. Work with them to see what they are both trying to achieve and consider where both parties could potentially compromise.


6.)  Choose an Appropriate Time to Address the Conflict

If you have reached a disagreement with a colleague, there’s always a time and a place to address it. Bringing it up in an important company meeting may not be the best time, nor place, to do so.

It’s much better to find a 10-minute slot in your working day, or even book in a meeting in advance. This means you can have tighter control over how your discussion will play out, ultimately helping to reach a more constructive solution to the conflict.


7.)  Take the Conflict Somewhere Private

On that same note, taking the conflict somewhere private is equally important. Going out of your way to start an argument with a colleague in full view of everyone else in the workplace is far from productive and is only likely to draw an unwanted audience.

Head into a separate meeting room, or even take advantage of an empty kitchen, so you can lay out everything that needs to be said. This way, you wont’ have to worry about anyone eavesdropping.


8.)  Practice Active Listening

If you’re in direct conflict with someone, or you’re helping other colleagues to resolve a conflict, it’s rather obvious that you’re going to need to listen to their points. However, you can always go one step further by practising active listening.

If you’re an active listener, you make points to demonstrate that you are engaged in what the person has to say. This is often as simple as repeating what they’re saying or providing audible clues that you understand their points. The other person will then be more likely to carefully listen to your points, helping everything to come full circle. Sounds good, right?


9.)  Ask What the Other Person Needs from You

As conflicts develop, effective communication can sometimes end up breaking down. No matter how contentious something becomes, it’s always important to remember to ask what the other person needs from you.

You never know – simply asking this may be all it takes to avoid a conflict from escalating out of control.


10.) Decide on Preventative Methods for the Future

Once you have resolved a conflict, you should ask yourself how you can avoid the same issue from happening again in the future. Was there a breakdown in communication? Are the company’s processes as streamlined as possible? You get the idea.

If you can prevent a conflict from arising, you won’t need to worry about resolving one in the first place.

Are You Struggling to Resolve Conflicts in the Workplace?

No one enjoys being in conflict, but it’s an inevitable part of an effective workplace. If everybody agreed on everything, how would we open ourselves up to alternative points of view and approaches to commercial practices?

These tips should help you to resolve conflict in a positive manner, which means that they will be constructive, rather than disruptive.

Have you got any more tips for resolving conflict in the workplace? Feel free to leave a comment below with your own suggestions.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.

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