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How to Handle Workplace Conflict

All of us would have had our fair share of workplace conflict in our course of work.  It can be conflict between employees, between supervisors or among departments.  Developing effective conflict resolution skills are essential for a business.  Unresolved conflict often results in lower productivity, difficulty in cooperation and collaboration within the company. 

What creates conflict in the workplace?  It can be differing ideas, competitive performances, ego, power struggles, or simply an employee’s bad behavior.  The following tips can help you handle conflicts in the workplace more efficiently.

  • Understand The Conflict

Before you try to handle the conflict, take some time to understand both sides of the issue and not just assume you know what’s happening.  Encourage the employees to find a way to work out their conflict and to iron out their differences.  If the conflict is between departments, an interdepartmental discussion is good for communicating the thoughts across to one another.

  • Talk It Out

Arrange a time and place for the conflicting parties to talk it out without any interruptions.  Allow each party to have ample time to have their say.  Bear in mind that this is not a time for finger-pointing or attacking the other party.  The focus should be on solving the problem.

  • Provide Guidance

If you are in a leadership position, you should never take sides in conflict management.  You are there to simply help the parties involved to work out their conflicts.  You can be there to guide the discussion in the right path and not turn into an ugly fight. 

  • Listen Attentively

It is important that complete attention is given to the person who is talking.  Emotions might be running high but do not interrupt the other party.  After the person is done talking, you can repeat what you have just heard to confirm that you got the right message.  You can also ask clarifying questions like for the other person to repeat what they just said or to clarify any doubts.