How to deal with conflict in the workplace

February 26, 2020 in Career, Career Advice - No Comments - 3 min read
How to deal with conflict in the workplace


Being in the corporate world can be a bit difficult to navigate. You are expected to behave in a professional manner at all times.There is a lot of politics around the office and sometimes people just break resulting in conflict. If (or when) you find yourself in this situations, here are some ways to deal with conflict and difficult people in the workplace.

Conflict Resolution Tip 1: Set Boundaries

When dealing with someone who is known to behave in an unacceptable manner, it is best to set boundaries with that person. It does not help to allow someone to constantly treat you unfairly, even if it is just their personality. It is everyone’s responsibility to behave in a professional manner at work. Talk to the person about this to avoid conflict at a later stage.

Conflict Resolution Tip 2: Do Not Avoid It

If attempts to prevent conflict have failed, it is best to address conflict head-on instead of avoiding it. Some people generally prefer to keep a peaceful environment and are more likely to avoid conflict in a situation where it is necessary that it be addressed. Avoiding conflict could result in a toxic environment that negatively affects your mental health. The best way to handle it is to deal with it and do so quickly.

Conflict Resolution Tip 3: Talk to the Person

In most cases, people do not tend to have the same view on life. Therefore, there is a chance that the other person is not aware of what they are doing. Meet with the person privately where you can explain how their actions affect you. Listen carefully to what the person says/responds without interrupting them or becoming defensive. Negotiate and come to some kind of agreement that will allow for you both to keep working with each other amicably. Know that there might be a need for compromise from both parties, and that is completely fine.

Conflict Resolution Tip 4: Refer to Facts and Procedures

If it turns out that the conflict cannot be resolved by talking and coming to an agreement, revert to the facts. Remove emotion out of the situation and resolve the situation in the way that is stated in our company policies and procedures. Sometimes this may mean escalating the issue to senior managers and human resources for action to be taken in accordance with the company policies. 

Conflict Resolution Tip 5: Develop a System or Plan

Once you have involved your senior managers and human resources, come up with a plan to ensure that this conflict does not arise again in future. Create a system that both of you can follow so that everyone is treated fairly. Alternatively, human resources of your manager can check in to review how things have changed. This will encourage both parties to ensure that they can work together and prevent issues.

Take Home: How to deal with conflict?

It is generally best to prevent conflict. This can be done by identify possible hot spots for where it can occur. But since we are all different, with our own unique personalities, conflict in the workplace is bound to happen. If it does, it is best to not avoid it and deal with it quickly. Talk to the other person, but listen to them as well. Put yourself in their shoes and try to respond in a defensive way. Ultimately, the both of you need to come to an agreement of how to best solve the issue so that you may both continue to work together amicably. 

All of this is however easier said than done. I know from personal experience that you may be tempted to avoid conflict, but that will only create a toxic environment for you and is not good for your mental well-being. Do you have any experience dealing with conflict in the workplace? How did you deal with it and did it work? Please let us know in the comments below.

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