Workplace Conflict: The good, the bad and the ugly

The term 'conflict' has a negative connotation, but it can be used to develop healthy relationships.

Conflict is bound to arise in the workplace due to different perspectives says Rachel Johnson, owner of Palomino Training Solutions.

“There are many causes of conflict, but what all these causes mainly boil down to are differences.”

This includes differences in opinion, belief, culture and morals to name a few.

Can conflict be avoided?

According to Johnson conflict can be avoided, but that's not always the best way to deal with it.

“If we avoid a conflict situation and it persists, then we are more likely to explode when the situation happens again down the line.”

Ideally, we need to learn how to deal with conflict in a way that satisfies both parties.

Is conflict a sign of transparency or mistrust?

Not all conflict is bad says Johnson. “Most of the time conflict is a sign of a healthy environment.”

“If conflict is present and well managed in teams, these teams will develop and grow towards synergy (optimal working together).”

Johnson offers 3 quick tips to deal with conflict at work:

1. If something is bothering you, approach the person and start a dialogue with them in order to understand their point of view.
2. Remember that people are different and don't expect your colleagues to think and operate in the same way you do.
3. When dealing with a conflict situation try to remain objective and don't get too emotional. Once emotions start rising, the chances of resolving the conflict at that point are slim.

Nobody enjoys conflict and confrontation but with the right approach we can minimise the damage and distress that conflict causes.

Join our Conflict Resolution course and learn how to handle difficult situations in the workplace.

The upcoming 2019 Conflict Resolution courses will be held on 8 March,10 April and 9 May in Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. The cost is R2,295 ex vat per delegate (contact for excellent onsite rates). This one-day interactive course includes modules on managing anger, dealing with problems, changing yourself and much more.

This course is also available as an onsite option at your work premises (contact us for the very competitive prices) and also as an online (e-learning) option.

“Our aim is for delegates to leave our workshops feeling inspired and motivated, with a wealth of knowledge and hands-on tools that they are able to implement immediately,” says Johnson.

For more information, contact Rachel Johnson on 082-878-1164, email [email protected] or visit

By Cindy Payle - Portal Publishing