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6 Ways to Resolve Conflict in the Workplace

Not every conflict at work is one that needs to involve management or HR. That’s not to say that management shouldn’t be made aware of issues. But when you’re dealing with tension or incompatible behaviour styles, sometimes it's appropriate to deal with certain conflicts yourself.

Resolving conflict in the workplace can sometimes be intimidating. You could have a feeling that the person you’re having an issue with today might be someone you need on your side tomorrow. Or, you might be paired with them for a future assignment. Thankfully, by practising these ideas to resolve conflict, you can take back that feeling of peace that makes your workplace a place where you get work done.

1. Accept that there’s a conflict in the first place.

If you deny the problem, you can’t expect to find a solution. Start by taking a step back and admitting that yes, there’s a problem. Only when it’s acknowledged can you work toward resolution.

2. Talk it out.

In the workplace, it’s especially important that you discuss conflicts privately. Set up a time to talk where you’re less likely to be interrupted. Then be prepared to discuss the conflict rationally – without pointing fingers or assigning blame.

3. Be an active listener.

Not only do you want to pay attention to what the other person is saying, but make sure you also understand what they’re getting at. To this end, ask questions. Rephrase what you hear them saying.

4. Find common ground.

Look for the compromise or the answer that satisfies both parties if possible. By letting go of the idea of someone needing to be a ‘winner’ in the confrontation, you’re now able to look for a workable solution. Find the positives that you both agree on and work from there.

5. Know your purpose.

If you’re mediating someone else’s conflict – remember you’re the guide, not part of the problem. You’re there to help find a solution, not dictate your own.

6. Resolve feelings.

Remember that this conflict likely generated some negative feelings. At the end of the whole process don’t forget to apologise. And don’t forget to forgive.

By resolving conflict in the workplace quickly, you help to create a workplace environment that’s conducive to getting things done. Knowing these strategies will help resolve conflict in any situation. That means if your conflict is with another employee, or even between management and an employee, you’re ready to handle the dispute in a way that’s both professional and calming. In the end, you’ll be able to enjoy a workplace with a pleasant atmosphere - and perhaps inspire others to resolve their own conflicts, too.

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