Top Tips to Deal with Conflict in the Workplace


No matter where you work, whether it be a huge company or a small family-owned business, there will most likely be conflict at one time or another. While it can be extremely stressful to deal with, especially if you’re in charge, it’s important to remember that there is a way to resolve the situation.

In this article, we are going to talk about some of the top tips to deal with conflict in the workplace. Interested? Then let’s get started.

Create a conflict plan

The best way to deal with conflict is to be prepared for it. By creating a conflict plan, you can have strict policies and procedures in place for all of your employees, including yourself, to follow. This plan should outline what acceptable behavior is and also the process of coming up with an agreement. You might have a look at the Thomas Kilmann conflict mode instrument to help with this. At the end of the day, the more prepared you are, the easier it will be to manage a situation when it arrives, whether it be with a customer or with your employees.

Avoid gossip

One of the biggest things that can influence an individual’s judgment about a conflict is gossip, and in the office, there is plenty of it. If you’re going to be the mediator for a particular dispute, you want to ignore this gossip as much as possible. Try your best to focus on the facts and get information straight from those involved. Otherwise, the whole situation is going to get very messy, very quickly, and you might not come up with a mutual solution. 

Host a meeting and set ground rules

Once you’ve been notified of a particular situation and have spoken to each of those involved individually, it’s time to set a time and host a meeting. Before beginning, you want to make sure that everybody knows the ground rules. These include letting everyone get a chance to speak without interruption and negotiating in a civilized manner. You want everything to go as smoothly as possible; otherwise, you might have another conflict on your hands. 

Allow both parties to discuss their thoughts

After the meeting has commenced, and everyone is aware of what is going to happen, you can let those involved discuss their thoughts. Everyone should get equal time to express their feelings, while all those involved listen. Once everyone has shared their point of view, you can then start thinking about any disciplinary action that should occur. However, this isn’t always necessary, depending on the situation.

Brainstorm solutions for the problem together

If no immediate action needs to take place, it’s time for everyone involved to start brainstorming solutions for the problem together. It’s vital that everyone outlines what they would like to happen so that they all get a say. Write everything down on a piece of paper and see what each individuals’ main points are. This will help you make your final conclusion.

Come to a mutual agreement

Once everyone has written down their solutions, it’s time to come to a mutual agreement. If both parties can’t do this, then you need to step in and decide what is best for everyone. This can also be a trial to see how things go, and if the issue doesn’t resolve itself, you can bring everyone in and start again. The aim is to make both parties happy so that everyone can get back to work and continue doing what they do best.

Finish the meeting in a professional manner 

Once the meeting is over, you want to finish everything in the most professional manner possible. Shake hands, thank each other, and move forward with the finalized solution. Regardless of what sort of conflict was resolved, you want to make sure that there is no negativity left in the air.

Follow-up afterward

Lastly, and most importantly, you want to make sure that you follow-up a few days after the meeting has been held. This is an essential part of being a proactive HR leader, as you are showing initiative and care for your employees and clients. If everything is running smoothly, that’s great, but if not, you may need to pull everyone in again and go over your initial strategies.

And that’s it! These were some of the top tips to deal with conflict in the workplace. While it might seem overwhelming, you want to remain strong so that everything is sorted out in the best way possible. Good luck!