By Faiza Akhter


If you think you can dwell in a world without conflicts, then my friend you need to think twice. Regardless of how well-behaved, nurturing, and caring one is, conflicts are unavoidable. But there is no need to worry because you can resolve conflicts by taking several measures.

Workplace conflicts in worst-case scenarios are demoralizing, stressful, and counterproductive. What we as management need to identify is how can we utilize these barriers to increase healthy and creative productivity in our organization.

Workplace conflict typically takes place among two individuals or parties due to psychological barriers, poor communication, disagreements, superiority complexes, or fears of losing the job. Other reasons may include limitation of resources, excessive interaction, or dependency among colleagues.

Some high-profile workplace conflicts are:

  • Bullying
  • Sexual harassment
  • Ageism
  • Unfair or Constructive Dismissal

Conflicts can be of Substantial nature or interpersonal nature. Substantial conflicts mean they involve disputes in terms of procedures, practices, values, or objectives. Whereas, interpersonal includes a clash of personalities and barriers.

The question is what kind of conflict requires intervention?

We need to understand that not all conflicts within our workplace require intervention. Only when something is disrupting the peace of your office, slowing down productivity, or threatening the other employees needs tackling.

The fraction to which the situation runs its flow varies before an intervention, for example, a Manager may not feel the necessity to arbitrate when a small exchange of heated debate takes place between employees but if this incident starts happening daily and has the potential to become more hostile and damaging to other staff members then it requires immediate action.

Measures to deal with Conflict Management at Workplace

For Conflict Resolution, we can take the following measures.

1- Identify the Source of the Conflict

First, we need to differentiate whether the conflict is substantial or interpersonal. Is the root cause clashing personalities of two individuals or does it have to do with the work-related policies or procedures?

Honestly investigate the problem before you plan to settle the problem, few situations are sometimes not as they seem, and distorted facts are presented. Take time to evaluate all information. A hasty decision that has the potential to be erroneous can isolate the individual involved.

2- Acknowledgment

Once the cause is identified, acknowledge the sentiments or frustrations of each party involved in the next gradual step toward resolution.

3- No Power-show

Using authority to deter conflict or coercing people to shake hands may present a temporary solution, but no long-term results will come from it. Odds are the problem will resurface with more intensity and not only will you have double the problem to deal with, but also the long-kept anger festered below the surface during the interval can cause more havoc to your workplace and your reputation.

4- Prime focus

Sometimes the source of this kind of rift is poor communication, bad job description, and undefined rules and regulations in the workplace. For resolving either personal conflicts or professional ones the resolution often boils down to communication.

Our prime focus in resolving an issue must be the problem and not the individual. Most of the offices have one problematic individual but that does not necessarily mean they do not have a legitimate issue. We must avoid preconceived notions clouding our judgments and focus on identifying and resolving the conflict.

5- Effective Communication

Firstly, establish healthier guidelines among our team members or workforce before their meeting. The policies, rights of the employer and employees, and job-related expectations must be crystal clear, so no one exploits their position at all costs. They must agree to express their viewpoints as calmly and professionally as possible while having a sincere interest to understand the other’s perspective as well. We are here to facilitate communication so the problem can resolve itself.

Secondly, Collaboration meetings with such employees can also highlight the behavioral differences among the conflicting parties which to our benefit can be crucial to resolving a future fight or avoiding one altogether. Also, this can be instilling a positive attitude toward disagreement because trust develops when two parties can resolve their differences.

6- The decision must take its course

Once information is thoroughly examined, discussed, and reviewed with all the parties involved, comes the decision-making and application. Where swift decisions can cause harm to the conflict, also taking too long to decide can propagate ill feelings and doubts regarding bias among the conflicting parties.

Your decision should pave the way to handle the conflicts with positivity, encourage team spirit, and not violate anyone’s self-respect.

We can further make amendments to policies and work practices that instigate problems. Be its structural issues, job expectations, or satisfaction all employees must be able to give their opinion with a modest and professional approach. Moreover, for Avoiding Conflicts In the workplace we can apply some of the following ideas.

7- Anticipate Conflict Scenarios and behavior

Identify certain Substantial or Behavioural patterns in your work environment that are the cause of past disputes. We can jot down these “specific triggers” and find the design of a permanent solution to stop the disruption.

8- Training and Motivation

Encourage staff members to embrace differences of opinion because group bias is detrimental to creativity. It is a matter of change in perspective, it is healthy for people to disagree because usually different viewpoints can harness food for thought and one step ahead to achieving your goals.

Collaboration meetings as stated above can become a useful tool to air differences in a healthy manner. Explain at the start of the meeting that we aim to take this opportunity to make everyone feel heard. It will also serve as a training session for us to learn to be more respectful and tolerant of our differences. Beneficial training and counseling can also be fruitful to this cause.

Transparency in accountability should also be encouraged in our workplaces.

9- Grievance Procedure

We must lay down a formal procedure that must be followed wherein case a conflict is not resolved both aggrieved parties should know how to file a complaint, with whom and what procedures will be followed considering it.

This provides a platform for any conflicting parties to feel safe, heard, and part of the organization where their interests and opinions are always protected.

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