How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace | Pollack Peacebuilding

January 12, 2022by Kent McGroarty

Even the most harmonious work environments can experience issues at various times. Learning how to handle conflict in the workplace effectively sidesteps major problems that can result in serious tension for weeks or months at a time. Thankfully, there are many ways to resolve conflicts that help everyone get past the problem and continue working together. Get a jump-start on your conflict resolution education here to help your efforts.

Free Consultation for Workplace Conflict

Why Conflicts Occur

Workplace conflicts are sometimes due to clashing personalities and work ethics. Some team members might always go “the extra mile,” such as staying late to finish projects or arriving early to get started on the day’s tasks. Other employees might be strong workers, but never stay past the official end of the day or always seem to have an excuse for leaving early. Still others are simply not meant for their current jobs and would be better used elsewhere.

Having to work with individuals who do not share the same values can be frustrating for some team members, especially if they are always dealing with “messes” their coworkers create with clients or having to ask for work past the due date.

Other common reasons for workplace issues include poor communication. If there is not sufficient transparency among departments, information can get lost or misconstrued. Unclear job expectations also cause problems because employees remain unsure of what they should do every day. Additional reasons for conflicts can include religious differences, toxic work environments, and resistance to change, such as changing the office location, brand vision, or team assignments.

Tips For Resolving Conflicts Quickly and Peacefully 

Learning how to handle conflict in the workplace takes time and patience, but contributes to a healthier commercial environment. If you are tasked with resolving conflicts, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Remain Neutral: It is not your job to take sides in a workplace dispute, even if you personally favor one team member over the other. By maintaining an impartial, judgment-free air, the disgruntled employees feel respected and heard. No one likes to discuss their issues feeling like the person listening is judging them or has already made up their mind about the situation.
  • Avoid Open Discussions: The breakroom or main office area should not be used for conflict resolution. If you do not have a conference room, personal office, or other space for discussing the issue without an audience, find a quiet spot outdoors, weather permitting. Talking about grievances openly appears unprofessional to other team members and can make them rethink their career choices.
  • Stay Positive: Discussing what the team members in question did wrong or harping on the negative aspects of the situation does nothing for employee morale. Stay as positive about the problem as you can, as it shows your employees that you care about their well-being and want to resolve the issue in a way that benefits everyone. If it helps, talk about what each person involved in the conflict did well, or mention how impressed you were by their recent work.
  • Be Patient: Engaging in active listening tells your employees that they are valued and have time to talk about what is bothering them. Remain patiently silent until each individual has finished speaking, since interruptions can make them feel rushed or as though you have better things to do. Your patience pays off in the form of happy team members who appreciate and respect you.

Remember, learning how to handle conflict in the workplace is a learning process, so feel free to let your employees know that you are learning too. They will love and appreciate you for it! If you need help with workplace conflict, please contact us today!

Kent McGroarty

Copyright © 2022 Pollack Peacebuilding Systems