How to Manage and Resolve Workplace Conflict

Conflict is not an uncommon or unheard-of thing where human interactions happen. Conflicts arise for many reasons, whether with family members, loved ones, friends, or even colleagues at work. Managing and resolving workplace conflicts without exacerbating divisions between the parties involved is essential. The goal should be to foster reconciliation and bring the conflicting parties together.

The best solution is to be an excellent communicator who always appreciates workers who speak out and seek help to resolve workplace issues with their colleagues. Be creative in solving workplace disputes, and hope you turn conflicts into victories for the team and the company. Each conflict should offer insight into what is not going well at your workplace and how best you can address these issues. 

Here are some of the most basic ways to effectively manage and resolve workplace conflicts as a top business leader:

How To Handle Conflict in the Workplace

  1. Address the conflict early

The earlier you spot conflict among your employees, the earlier you will sort it out. This should be a mainstay in your conflict resolution plan. Identifying conflict early allows you to resolve it before it escalates and causes damage.

Once you notice any signs of dissent among your employees, engage the meddling parties in a constructive mediation process that will yield dialogue and forgiveness.

  1. Encourage dialogue

Be proactive and create safe spaces within your workplace where employees can freely express themselves and voice their concerns. Encourage your employees always to speak out and seek help in conflicts with their colleagues. Promote active listening, open expression of ideas, and‌ understanding of different perspectives from other team members. This fosters open, meaningful dialogue, which prevents potential conflict within the team.

  1. Understand views

You and your employees should strive to exhibit superior levels of emotional intelligence when resolving disputes. This enables people to use empathy and understand others and their circumstances, an essential foundation of conflict resolution. Resolving a dispute is only possible by first understanding the grieving parties. Understanding their unique perspectives allows you to develop a rational solution and leaves all parties satisfied with the answer.

  1. Facilitate dialogue

As the head of the business, you should be able to understand a situation and what action it requires. With conflict resolution, you can only help resolve issues you know. If you cannot do this, consider bringing in a third party, such as a manager or direct supervisor, to help with the mediation process. 

  1. Identify common interests

When resolving issues at the workplace, the goal is to find common ground. Focus on what unites the conflicting parties, such as their familiar team membership and shared success in previous projects. Use this to gain an advantage over their conflicting interests and show them the importance of continuously working together as a team. 

Use common interests to bring employees together while avoiding actions that further separate them by solely focusing on individual interests.

  1. Prioritize collaborative problem-solving

We recommend involving both parties in thinking of how to solve their differences. Let them develop ideas that sit well with them so they feel more engaged. This increases the likelihood of accepting the process's outcome and gives them valuable conflict-resolution skills

  1. Encourage respect

When calming a conflict between two people, it is essential that both parties feel respected by you and by each other. Encourage respectful disagreement during the mediation process. Mediation can only occur if all parties feel equal, and as such, they will demand to be respected and treated equally. It is essential to be fair and demonstrate appreciation to your employees, regardless of their grievances and conflicting viewpoints.

  1. Develop a plan

Develop a plan detailing how you want to resolve the conflict before meeting the grieving parties. The program should focus on breaking down the problem, creating a fair process, and arriving at agreeable outcomes. Given that situations vary from each other, it is essential to customize your conflict resolution plan to address the unique situation.

  1. Execute the plan

Once you have developed a reasonable plan, proceed with its implementation and commit to following the program throughout the entire mediation process. If you require assistance from another party, ensure their availability and seek their support as needed. Additionally, prioritize achieving positive outcomes rather than exacerbating the situation.

  1. Document Agreements

If you need to make agreements during mediation, make sure the agreements are well documented and stored for future reference and other uses. It is important to make agreements that the parties will stick to. These should suggest the Dos and Don’ts that will lead to a resurfacing of the conflict. Ensure the meddling parties read, understand, and commit to these agreements.

  1. Monitoring and Evaluation

The best way to determine whether your plan is effective is by regularly monitoring the parties' behavior and their workplace relationships to identify whether your conflict resolution plan was adequate. If not, you may need to adjust it until you feel it is yielding the desired results. This process will also help you prevent the reoccurrence of the conflict.

  1. Offer conflict resolution training

Consider adding conflict resolution training to your employee engagement and wellness activities list. Offering such training will be resourceful and will give employees the proper knowledge, skills, and mindset to defuse conflicts among themselves. Use moments of conflict to unite your teams. Besides, you need to be well prepared for such scenarios and always be on the lookout for ways to defuse conflicts in your workplace effectively.

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  1. What are the five conflict management strategies?
  • Don’t ignore conflict.
  • Clarify the issue.
  • Bring involved parties together to talk.
  • Identify a solution.
  • Continue to monitor and follow up on the conflict.
  1. What are the four Cs of conflict management?
  • Conflict - What is causing unrest and breaking workplace relationships?
  • Coexistence - The need for an enabling environment for creating brilliant workplace relationships.
  • Competition - Healthy competition between employees.
  • Cooperation - Focus on teamwork. 
  1. What is the role of HR in conflict resolution?

The primary duty of HR in conflict resolution is to prevent conflicts from escalating and growing into more significant problems that could have an impact on the entire organization. To help the disputing parties communicate, HR should serve as a mediator.