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How to Handle Conflict at Work with 5 Expert Steps

Any workplace will inevitably experience conflict, so any employee would benefit from learning effective conflict management techniques. Unresolved conflicts, whether they involve a coworker or a superior, can cause tension, decreased productivity, and a hostile work environment. So how to handle conflict at work?

How to Handle Conflict at Work

Common Causes of Conflict in the Workplace

Employees and managers can prevent conflicts before they escalate into bigger issues by being aware of these common causes of conflict.

Misunderstandings and Misinterpretations

Conflict in the workplace frequently results from misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Miscommunications are common in dynamic, fast-paced workplaces.

An email that was intended to be informative can be misinterpreted as critical, or a quick conversation can leave important details unclear. These misunderstandings can quickly escalate into conflicts if they are not addressed promptly and effectively.

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Differing Values and Perspectives

When people are unable to recognize, understand, or accept the differences in others, conflicts may result. In today’s highly divisive political and social climate, respecting one another’s differences is even more crucial. Pay attention to your shared goals at work. Find your areas of agreement so that you can avoid heated arguments.

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Office Politics and Gossip

Employees engaging in negative talk or spreading rumors about their coworkers can quickly create a toxic work environment. Cliques and alliances can form, leading to exclusion and favoritism. In addition, office politics can often influence decisions and actions, leading to conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency.

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Unfair Treatment and Favoritism

Favoritism and unfair treatment are two significant workplace conflict-generators. When an employee feels that others are getting special treatment or preferential treatment, resentment and hostility can quickly grow. This can be particularly problematic when it comes to chances for advancement like promotions, pay raises, and other opportunities. Legal issues and reputational harm for the company can also result from a perception of bias or discrimination.

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The Impact of Unresolved Conflict

Conflict in the workplace is frequently caused by a lack of communication, and if this issue is not resolved, it could have detrimental effects on a company. The culture of your company might change if disputes and other potential conflicts are handled quickly. Nevertheless, ignoring them might have a number of detrimental effects on the business.

Decreased Productivity

One of the significant effects of unresolved conflict in the workplace is decreased productivity. Unresolved disputes can quickly spiral out of control, which makes workers tense, stressed, and less motivated. Deadlines may be missed as a result of inattention, absenteeism, and decreased productivity, and the quality of the work may also suffer.

The Impact of Unresolved Conflict

High Employee Turnover

Employee turnover is frequently correlated with high rates of unresolved conflicts at all levels of an organization. It should come as no surprise that workers will typically search for a more positive workplace that supports their morals, values, and work-life balance when they feel that their psychological safety is violated or that a toxic workplace is a norm.

Damaged Workplace Relationships

If conflicts are not resolved, employees may become very resentful and hostile, which will eventually harm relationships at work. This might cause a lack of trust among team members and communication problems. Unresolved conflicts can also result in cliques and alliances that promote exclusion and favoritism.

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5 Ways for Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

Here are some key strategies to get started with:

Fostering Open Communication

Fostering open communication is one of the most crucial steps in resolving conflicts at work. Employees are more likely to communicate their opinions and problems, which can help to prevent misunderstandings and control conflicts before they escalate. Effective communication requires active listening, empathy, and an openness to different points of view. Managers can promote open communication by encouraging feedback and offering a safe and supportive environment for workers to express themselves.

Address The Issue Promptly

Conflicts should be resolved as quickly as possible by managers so that they don’t have a chance to grow and escalate. This calls for attentive listening, empathy, and a comprehension of the viewpoints of all parties concerned. Once the problem has been located, managers and staff members can collaborate to find a workable solution. Managers can foster a more positive work environment where employees feel heard and valued by quickly resolving conflicts.

5 Ways for Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

Acknowledging and Validating Others’ Feelings

Recognizing and validating other people’s feelings is crucial for conflict resolution in the workplace. This entails paying attention to what they have to say, demonstrating empathy, and refraining from passing judgment. By doing this, managers can create a welcoming environment where staff members feel free to voice their ideas and concerns.

It’s critical to keep in mind that each person’s experiences and points of view are distinct, and that by accepting these differences, conflicts can be avoided from getting out of hand. A more positive and effective work environment can be promoted by validating other people’s feelings. This will also improve communication and understanding among staff members.

Encouraging a Positive Work Culture

A positive work culture can help prevent conflicts from arising in the first place by promoting open communication, empathy, and understanding among employees. Managers can encourage a positive work culture by setting clear expectations, recognizing employee achievements, and creating a supportive environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

Implementing a Conflict Resolution Training Program

A proactive method of resolving conflicts at work is to implement a conflict resolution training program. Employees who participate in such a program can learn the skills necessary to effectively prevent and resolve conflicts.

Active listening, effective communication, empathy, and problem-solving should all be covered in the training. Employees will be better able to spot potential conflicts and take the necessary action to resolve them before they worsen if given these skills.


In conclusion, knowing how to handle conflict at work is a crucial skill for any employee or manager. Any workplace will inevitably experience conflict, which needs to be handled quickly and effectively to prevent it from getting worse. Remembering that conflict resolution is a skill that can be developed through repetition will help people handle conflicts more skillfully in the future. Boulo Solutions is your trusted partner in establishing a harmonious and productive work environment. Through our exceptional selection process, we ensure that the best candidate is placed within your firm, significantly reducing the potential for conflict.