5 Conflict Management Styles in the Workplace

No two managers’ conflict resolution styles are alike, though some are more effective than others. To help you hone your own skills and enjoy an even healthier, happier office, take a moment to learn about common conflict management styles in the workplace. You will gain a better idea of what’s effective…and what isn’t.

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Ignoring the Problem

Some managers choose to completely ignore conflicts in the workplace and focus on other things. While these individuals naturally have plenty to do every day, ignoring the issue–or any issue–does not make it go away. What it does do is increase workplace tension and resentment. In some cases, the conflict between the employees, fellow managers, or employee and manager can mean that working together is no longer an option. This can reflect poorly on the manager trying to sweep the issue under the break room rug, because it raises questions about their leadership.


The goal of conflict resolution is to satisfy both parties, though there are times when compromises are necessary. There are managers who go overboard regarding post-conflict accommodations, which can result in glossing over larger issues. Small problems can usually be accommodated without any major overalls, but any issue considered sizable in nature requires more time, thought, and effort. This is especially important for any issue that should involve the HR department. Trying to accommodate rather than dissect and solve the problem in such cases can result in further issues, including company and brand reputation damage.


Considered one of the best conflict management styles in the workplace, collaboration involves carefully considering each parties’ needs and wants, which can require everyone sitting down together and discussing the root of the issue. Allowing each party to speak without fear of being interrupted, shouted down, or judged is invaluable, because it promotes honesty and subsequently more thorough conflict resolution practices. Collaboration is one of the best methods when preserving company relationships is a top concern, or when the proposed solution will benefit the parties and the business as a whole in significant ways.


Competing is easily one of the least effective conflict management styles. It involves one of the managers being rigid about what they feel is the correct solution and refusing to budge. While this shows that the manager feels strongly about what they believe in or feel is right, it can also make the individual appear unreasonable, immovable, and unapproachable. “Crushing the opposition” does not help said manager gain their team’s respect either, nor does it contribute to a healthy, happy workplace. Instead, it can breed resentment and frustration that makes everyone in the office extra tense and irritable.

Professional Mediation

Some team leaders keep professional mediators on retainer to deal with conflicts effectively. These professionals undergo extensive training in conflict resolution to provide employees and managers with numerous tools for dealing with workplace issues effectively. Additionally, they remain objective throughout mediation proceedings to help those the conflict concerns feel at ease. This results in more honest conversations, because the employees do not feel judged or like the mediator has “chosen sides.”

Keeping a professional mediator on call can also help team members feel more relaxed overall, because they know someone is available to listen in the event of conflicts. They have space to work through issues without fear of interruption and harsh words, which can result in a healthier, happier workplace.

These are just some of the conflict management styles in the workplace the employers and managers utilize. For more about professional conflict resolution and assistance, please contact Pollack Peacebuilding Solutions today!

Kent McGroarty


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