Managing Emotional Conflict in the Workplace - Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

June 4, 2021by Vanessa Rose

Many people will say that emotions don’t belong in the workplace. But regardless of whether or not they belong there, as human beings we can only do so much to compartmentalize our whole selves while on the clock. Emotional conflict in the workplace can be detrimental to employee morale and productivity, and if not handled effectively, can really damage an employee’s perspective of the organization and their role in it.

Emotional Conflict in the Workplace

While emotional conflict in the workplace can be as distracting to workflow as any other type of conflict, it can be immensely beneficial for leadership to address the conflict respectfully in order to maintain the trust of employees. Remember that leadership is responsible for addressing person-centered issues of all kinds, so focus on the people sitting before you rather than the bottom line.

Acknowledge and Validate

Validating someone’s emotions doesn’t necessarily mean you’re agreeing with them. But if you’ve ever felt a lot of intense emotions, you may know that one way to amplify those feelings rather than dissolve them is to be ignored, challenged, or dismissed. Allow your employees to express their emotions and reflect back to them with empathy what you hear them saying. One of the best ways to begin addressing deeply emotional conflict is to offer your management teams de-escalation training so they are prepared for dealing with personality conflicts at work and can learn how to begin resolution by lowering the initial intensity.

Train Employees to be Proactive

There are conflict situations at work that tend to be more common than others. Those include conflicts around personality, work ethic, and diversity of thought. One of the lesser common types of conflict, albeit important is emotional conflict in the workplace, which requires specific skill sets. Conflict resolution training for all employees, not just those at the leadership level, can prevent conflicts from escalating to disrupting levels. By giving your team tools to effectively communicate their needs, they may avoid letting emotions build up to high levels of intensity.

Be Open to Feedback

When employees reach an emotional limit at work, it could be due to things going on in their personal life. That’s typically why we say emotions don’t belong in the workplace. But oftentimes employees’ stress is coming from the job itself and managers would benefit to listen to the concerns of their teams to improve conditions. Basic lessons in how to resolve staff conflict include making substantial, noticeable changes with the insight gained from employee feedback. This is especially true when emotions are high, as one way to de-escalate conflict with emotional distress is to validate with works and actions. Show your employees that you hear them and that you want to remove any unnecessary stress.

Emotional conflict in the workplace can cause a high level of stress that could have negative consequences for your team. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can help you proactively address emotional situations at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a licensed psychotherapist and writer living in Los Angeles. When not on a mission for inner peace and conflict resolution, she enjoys making art, visiting the beach, and taking dog portraits. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious and archetypal influences on how we eat, express, and relate.

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