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Tips on resolving conflict in the workplace

by Chloe Baird

Even as you’re reading this now, you’re probably thinking of a specific situation where you encountered conflict in the workplace. We’ve all been there, and it’s never a pleasant experience. Conflict in the workplace can be stressful and can hamper your ability (and that of your teammates) to do your job effectively.  

Conflict can occur in many different ways in the workplace: between two employees, among entire teams or between supervisors and the team members they manage. 

But no matter how difficult a situation seems, there are ways you can work to resolve it.  

There is never a ‘one size fits all’ solution to conflict in the workplace, and it can take time to understand how to correctly deal with a conflict situation. By studying Open Colleges’ online Managing Workplace Conflict short course, you’ll develop your conflict resolution skillset, which will help establish you as an invaluable employee. You’ll learn useful skills that will help you identify and diffuse situations, and how to effectively manage a situation so that you can get the most out of your team.  

Why is it important to resolve conflicts in the workplace? 

One of the things I love most about my job at Open Colleges is that I get to work with positive, passionate, driven people. As part of the Open Colleges team, I can confidently say that my job is made much easier because of the open, friendly, collaborative environment that I work in.  

However, getting up every day for work would be made much harder if I did not work in such a positive environment.  

Conflict in the workplace can have a number of serious side effects. Some of these side effects include: 

  • Downturn in productivity 
  • High rate of employee turnover 
  • Mental health concerns 
  • Distraction from the primary goals of the business 

For these reasons and others, it’s important to be able to deal with conflict in the workplace fairly and efficiently. 

What causes conflict in the workplace? 

There are a multitude of factors that can contribute to conflict arising in the workplace.  Conflict arises in the workplace when a person’s actions are thought to negatively impact someone else.  

No matter the workplace or the type of conflict, though, there are ways to resolve the issue before it gets out of hand.  

What are the best ways to deal with workplace conflict?

  1. Clear communication 

One of the most important things to remember when dealing with conflict in the work place is to ensure clear communication between all parties. Miscommunication between parties can spell disaster for any hope of an easy resolution if no-one is totally clear on the situation.  

work place conflict

2. Don’t let emotions get in the way 

It can be hard to separate your emotions from a conflict situation sometimes, but when dealing with conflict in the workplace, it’s really important to always remain calm and clear-headed. If you’re angry or upset, you’re more likely to say or do something you’ll regret. 

3. Understand everyone’s point of view 

Most people don’t go out of their way to create conflict or to let their colleagues down. To resolve conflict, it’s imperative that you understand everyone’s side of the story first. If the conflict has arisen because of conflicting goals, it’s important to understand what those goals are and how they can be achieved without a clash of interests.  

4. Act swiftly 

One of the best methods of dealing with workplace conflict is to nip the problem in the bud before it has a chance to escalate. If you notice that something is off within the team, or you are having trouble with a particular colleague, get to the root of the problem before it even has a chance to escalate into a conflict situation. 

Are there any positive outcomes of conflict in the workplace?

There’s no point sugar-coating it – dealing with conflict in the workplace can be difficult and draining.  

But the good news is that there can also be positive outcomes at the end of the day.  

If you start thinking outside the box, you’ll realise that a conflict in the workplace can also be an opportunity for learning

As a result of a conflict at work, you could see improved future team communication and dynamic shifts that ensure a fair and stable environment. Resolving conflict is also a chance for team members to work together to use their creative problem solving skills, and can help them develop empathy.  

How can I improve my conflict resolution skills? 

While it can be difficult, conflict in the workplace is a real issue that will affect almost everyone at some point in their career. Knowing how to deal with it is an invaluable skill.  

You can improve your skills with Open Colleges’ Managing Workplace Conflict short course, which has been designed to equip you with the necessary techniques needed to effectively resolve conflict.    

Learn how to effectively deal with conflict, maintain a cohesive team, and ensure a productive workplace.  

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