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10 Conflict Management Approaches for a Productive Workplace

Conflict management is an inherent and intrinsic part of human nature and makes up an important part of human interaction. Individuals can not move past a point unless they foster good communication and deal with conflicts. Conflict management in the workplace plays a pivotal role in shaping the outcomes for the company. Whether it is the revenue, brand loyalty, or simply employee turnover, the key to having good metrics is to pre-emptively deal with conflicts at work. 

To know more about conflict management in the workplace, continue reading ahead. This article touches upon why conflict occurs, what happens if it is not mitigated, and how leaders and managers can deal with it. 

Why Does Conflict Occur in the Workplace?

Conflicts are quite frequent in the workplace. They occur because of these main reasons. 

  1. Breakdown in communication, which can breed misunderstanding and resentment. 
  2. Limited resources like limited time, budget, or even recognition or validation in the office. 
  3. Ambiguity in the assigned Role, which means that employees do not know what is expected of them. 
  4. Personality clashes where employees who are different end up not understanding the perspectives of each other. 
  5. Power struggles because of hierarchical disputes and struggles for influence.

Why Do Good Leaders Prioritize Conflict Management in the Workplace?

Good leaders prioritize conflict management in the workplace because they want to uphold the essence of productivity and team building. By opening up channels of communication and addressing issues promptly, leaders can help put in places that build trust. 

Additionally, good leaders resolve conflicts when they are just in their earlier stages. By letting them linger on, they can grow into something more problematic over time. Through modeling constructive behavior and valuing diverse perspectives, leaders promote growth, better decision-making, and a more cohesive work atmosphere.

How Do You Identify the Best Strategy for Conflict Management?

Before you can identify a strategy for conflict management, it is important to identify why conflict occurred in the first place. By focusing on the underlying issues of the problem, you can find quick solutions. 

1. Conflicting Priorities: Battling over Resources and Goals

If you want to achieve goal A and your teammate wants to achieve goal B, what do you think will happen in the workplace: a conflict? With conflicting priorities, team members have to battle over a fixed number of resources and get their way. This can result in disagreements over which is the better pathway. With each person proving their point, conflicts are unavoidable. 

2. Conflicting Perspectives: Embracing Diversity in the Workplace

Even when two people’s goals are aligned and in sync, conflicts can still occur; this is because both individuals or groups have a different way of looking at things. One person thinks that achieving a goal would help take off the burden from some employees, whereas the other person feels that it would help save up some resources. Even when intentions are clear, conflict can still occur because of conflicting perspectives. 

3. Conflicting Assumptions: Unraveling the Misinterpretation Maze

Conflicting assumptions in the workplace are one of the biggest reasons for conflict. It can lead to miscommunication, interpersonal conflicts, and misunderstandings. Additionally, when people interpret their own and other people’s actions in different ways, they end up having trust issues. Addressing the underlying assumptions about things can help promote empathy and foster a positive and harmonious work environment for all. 

4. Conflicting Tolerances: Navigating Comfort Zones in Conflict Resolution

Every individual has unique trigger points. Some may feel disrespected at the slight change in expressions of the face, while others may get offended by someone being overtly friendly. These varying levels of tolerances can result in gray zones and people misinterpreting each other. 

Effective conflict resolution strategies involve understanding and respecting each individual’s tolerance for conflict and creating a supportive environment that encourages open dialogue and collaboration

Also Read: 15 Proven Ways to Fix A Toxic Blame Culture

What does conflict in the workplace look like?

  1. Increased Tension: this could be in the form of people not talking to each other or showing disrespect towards each other. 
  2. Decreased Communication: this may look like members of the team shying away from conversations, especially difficult conversations. 
  3. Decline in Team Collaboration: this may look like the team not sharing insights into each other work and not gelling well together with other teams. 
  4. Negative Attitude and Morale: if the team or individuals on the team are experiencing low morale and are not happy with the environment of the office, this may be a sign of a conflict. 
  5. Gossip and Rumors: if you hear individuals on a team gossiping or spreading rumors about each other or about the management, know that they have some resentment that needs to be fixed. 
  6. Missed Deadlines or Poor Performance: poor performance is often attributed to conflict; however, in some instances, it can be because of people working in a toxic and conflicting environment. 
  7. Personal Attacks or Criticism: if more and more people in your office are throwing personal attacks and criticisms on others, it means that leadership needs to stand up and take effective measures immediately. 
  8. Cliques or Factions: having preferences in the office is okay. However, when factions develop and people arrange themselves in exclusive groups, this is indicative of a conflict brewing. 

10 Effective Strategies of Conflict Management in the Workplace?

Strategies of Conflict Management in the Workplace

1. Unraveling Conflict Origins: The Path to Resolution

Rather than trusting people’s word for it, try to dig deeper into the conflict and find out why it occurred in the first place. A good way to do it is to assess the situation from a distance and see who is causing the problem and who is just reacting. Knowing this will help you avoid victim blaming and will help you get to the core of the issue. 

2. The Cozy Confab: Resolving Conflict in a Safe Haven

Open dialogue in a safe and protected environment is the key to resolving any issue. A cozy confab ensures that individuals are able to express their concerns, perspectives, and feelings without the fear of judgment. Additionally, in the presence of supporting and understanding managers, even the most frustrated of employees will find ease and comfort. 

3. Hear Them Out: Active Listening for Harmonious Solutions

Leaders should prioritize non-verbal communication and listening skills more than verbal communication. When resolving conflict, it is important to analyze the situation, try to reach the root of the cause, and show empathy, than simply replying for the sake of it. 

Also Read: 7 Incredible Tips to Help You Listen Like a Leader

4. Undercover Sleuth: Solving the Puzzle of Conflict

When resolving conflicts, always remember that there are certain layers and hidden meanings to each situation. The ability to extract these meanings is the key to resolving any conflict. Leaders should look beyond the obvious issues and identify the crucial pieces of the puzzle. By resolving the core of the issue, a leader can ensure that similar conflicts do not occur in the future. 

5. Goal-Getter’s Guide: Navigating Conflict to Achieve Unity

Conflict management in the workplace requires a swift shift from differences to shared aspirations. By compelling the team to work for common objectives, petty and small conflicts can easily be avoided. Moreover, by adopting a more inclusive leadership style, managers and bosses can promote harmony, instill teamwork and ensure the successful resolution of issues. 

6. Harmony Unleashed: Embracing Solutions and Sharing Responsibilities

By finding a win-win situation for all, conflicts can be avoided easily. It is the job of a leader to find a middle ground so that all parties, regardless of their concerns, can find something to be content about. Moreover, leaders need to take the concerns of all parties and show a willingness to share responsibilities and the burden of work. This helps everyone achieve a better work-life balance. 

7. Empathy Sparks Harmony: Understanding Each Other’s Shoes

Empathy may be the key to resolving all kinds of conflicts in the office. When team members do not understand the position of their colleagues or think that others have it easy, it can be hard for them to show empathy. It is the job of the leader to highlight the struggles and hard work of everyone in the office. By seeing what others go through each day, conflicts due to jealousy and competition can be reduced. 

8. Mediation Magic: A Neutral Path to Resolution

Even when the leaders are really supportive and want the best out of a bad situation, they can come off across as favoring one party over the other. By instilling the help of a neutral mediator like HR, conflicts can be resolved efficiently. Human Resource managers have a neutral presence, can hear both sides of the story objectively, and offer constructive solutions to all. This usually helps lead to mutually agreeable solutions. 

9. Beyond Positions: Unearthing Shared Interests

Powerful people in the office can often intimidate those who are lower in the hierarchy. This creates negativity and animosity in the office. By moving beyond individual stances and uncovering shared interests, conflicts can be transformed into opportunities for collaboration. Leaders can identify common ground and common purpose, thereby creating a framework for lasting resolutions. 

10. Review and Revise: Keeping Harmony on Track

Conflict management in the workplace is an ongoing process that requires periodic adjustments and review. By continuously evaluating the situation on the ground and ensuring that harmony prevails, leaders can create a healthy environment in the workplace. Additionally, having an open approach to discourse can help create a dynamic environment in the workplace. 

Also read: How Good Leadership Skills Can Transform a Toxic Workplace?

How to deal with Conflict Pre-emptively: Best ways to avoid Conflict

How to deal with Conflict Pre-emptively

1. Power of Many Minds: Creative Problem-Solving Unleashed

By harnessing the collective power of diverse minds, leadership can unlock creative new ideas for conflict resolution. So the next time, a conflict arises, make sure to gather the ideas and perspectives of other people and allow them to contribute effectively to the situation at hand. Having the opinions of stakeholders can create an ever-lasting impact on office culture. 

2. Ground Rules for Grace: Respecting Boundaries

Respecting others and their boundaries is key to ensuring conflict management in the workplace. Work with the HR department and establish ground rules that ensure respectable communication between all. Additionally, create safe spaces where your employees can vent out and open up about their struggles without any fear of judgment. 

3. Take a Breath: Breaks to Mend the Fray

By encouraging small moments of respite, leadership can create opportunities for emotional regulation and self-awareness. Make sure you and your employees are not overworked and overburdened and have ample time to relax. Studies show that overburdened employees tend to be frustrated and project this frustration onto their colleagues. 

4. Building Bridges: Strengthening Relationships for Success

Building strong bridges requires nurturing connections, promoting open communications, and fostering trust. When the company invests in relationship building among the team members, it facilitates better collaboration and ensures conflicts are resolved easily. 

5. Conflict Skills Unleashed: Equipped for Solutions

Proper training and support are necessary to ensure any conflicts are resolved effectively. By helping employees know their own energies and personalities, companies can help them navigate through difficult situations easily. These conflict skills enable individuals to transform disputes into opportunities for growth, learning, and stronger team dynamics.

Learn Conflict Management with the Best Diplomats

Learn Conflict Management with the Best Diplomats

Best Diplomats is leading the fight against bad management and ineffective leadership. By creating well-rounded individuals and diplomats, it is helping change the tides for organizations. Through carefully planned exercises and training, Best Diplomats is helping create strong and compassionate leaders who can look beyond their ego and position and show empathy and compassion.

If you want to learn these skills whereby also improving your public communication skills, join the next Best Diplomats conference happening soon. 


Conflict is undoubtedly an inevitable part of any workplace. How conflict is managed can make or break an organization. From increasing employee turnover to leading to a toxic culture in the workplace, frequent conflicts can ruin an organization. 

By following the above instructions for conflict management in the workplace, leaders, and managers can build trust in leadership, instill a friendly work environment, and can encourage brand loyalty. 


How do you handle conflict between employees?

For starters, leaders should create an open-door policy where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and complaints. Additionally, leaders should try to dig deep into the situation and reach the core of the issue. Lastly, employees should be heard, and their concerns should not be brushed aside. 

What is the most proven way to handle any conflict?

The best way to handle conflict is to talk directly to the parties concerned and let each party share their concerns without any judgment or hesitation. Additionally, make sure you plan ahead and ensure all parties are willing to sit at the table and talk their issues out. 

How to resolve conflict in a team?

If more than 2 individuals are involved in a conflict, it is important to observe the team and confirm whether the conflict is of a serious nature or not. Next, gather the teams individually, and let them voice their concerns. Lastly, make them all sit in a single room and allow them to have an open conversation and come up with solutions.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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