Conflict in the Workplace: Strategies To Resolve Workplace Conflict

Lady trying to resolve conflict in the workplace

In an office full of unique individuals, there is bound to be conflict somewhere along the line. Despite the requirement for professionality and common courtesy, certain personalities just don’t do well together and there will be disagreements will arise.

And it’s not to say that disagreements can’t be healthy in a workplace environment because opposing forces tend to bring new and useful information to light. This can lead to a better idea altogether or simply improve on the original idea. The unhealthy side of conflict is in the way it’s carried out. For example, when a discussion about a disagreement becomes a screaming match filled with personal insults.

Luckily for human resources, they know how to calm a situation down and change it from destructive to constructive. Here are a few ways they would go about to achieve conflict resolution in the workplace.

Strategies to resolve workplace conflict

Listen to understand

Before any HR manager can do anything, they need to start the process by listening to each person so as to understand where the individuals are coming from. And this type of listening isn’t always easy to do.

Listening to understand means you don’t only hear what the other person is saying, but you take into consideration their context, their motivation for conflict and you believe their side of the story. For all parties involved. The goal is to remain unbiased and have an equal understanding of why the people in conflict feel the way they do. With this type of listening, you aren’t focussing on what retorts or objections you can give to the statements being made. You need to wait for all the information to be presented and only then will you be able to make a fair comment and situational assessment.  

Talk it out

When the respective parties have presented their case to you, it’s up to you now, as the human resource manager, to encourage them to talk it out with each other. You will be there to facilitate the conversation in an effort to achieve effective communication that will reach a resolution.

Where there is criticism, you need to change it into constructive criticism. And where there is offence, you need to remind them that this is a professional environment, which requires professional conversation. With any type of conflict, communication will always be the best way to get through it and over it.

The cause of most workplace conflicts is because of miscommunication. So, the obvious solution would be to communicate and ensure that everyone can come to an agreement.