conflict at work

Managing conflict at work: Skills, tips and tricks

Have you ever clashed with a colleague? Conflict will occur in every workplace. It is how it is managed that is important. By managing conflicts effectively, you can ensure issues don’t escalate and relationships remain intact.

Hays and Indeed outline the top conflict management skills and ways employers and employees can manage workplace conflict.

Conflict management skills

Several skills are critical when managing conflicts.


Active listening skills

To solve conflict, you need to understand what is causing it. Listening to both sides will help you understand both points of view.


Being a good communicator allows you to express your needs and understand the needs of others 


Resolving conflict involves setting out the needs of yourself and others


Taking an empathetic approach allows you to see the conflict from the perspective of the others involved. Consider why they have an emotional connection to this issue.

Positive attitude

A positive attitude will reassure others that their views are being taken seriously. Staying positive also helps stop the conflict from turning nasty.


When dealing with conflict, patience is critical. It may take time to reach a solution everyone will be happy with


It is important to see the issue from both sides when dealing with conflict. Doing so allows you to focus on the problem that is causing the conflict. 

Problem solving

Resolving conflict is about recognising different points of view and working towards a solution that accommodates them all.

Open Communication

Open Communication is about keeping the lines of communication between parties open, even after the conflict has been resolved.


Styles of conflict management

Several different approaches can be taken to resolving conflict. Not all of these approaches will suit all individuals or every type of conflict.



A compromising approach involves finding solution that benefits all parties. This approach ensures everyone feels heard.


A collaborative approach involves working together to identify common goals.


An accommodating approach involves accommodating the other person’s needs. This approach is useful if the issue matters a lot more to one party than the other. It is also good for maintaining harmony.


A competing approach involves being direct, maintaining your point of view. This approach may be useful if dealing with a long-running issue that requires a resolution. 


An avoiding approach involves avoiding the discussion until after a solution is in place. This approach can be useful for dealing with conflicts that aren’t particularly important. 


How to resolve conflict

There are several steps you should take to resolve conflict.


Identify source

Firstly, you have to work out the cause of the conflict. Look beyond the surface. Conflict is not always caused by personality clashes. Other factors can lead to conflict, including inadequate training, unrealistic expectations, poor communication, unclear job roles and change. Ensure you understand what both sides concerns are. Give everybody a chance to share their views and concerns. 

Brainstorm solutions

This stage is about developing solutions to the conflict.

To achieve the best outcome, all parties should suggest ideas.

A good way to look at it is working together to achieve a common goal.

Agree on an action plan

At this stage, parties should implement the agreed solutions.

Be prepared to negotiate

The resolution won’t always be a win-win for everybody. Some parties may need to concede ground, and not everybody may get what they want. All parties should be respectful of the outcome decided.

conflict at work

Workplace conflict can’t be avoided, but it can be managed to maintain peace, harmony and a positive work environment.

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