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5 Steps to Productively Handle Workplace Conflict

5 Steps to Productively Handle Workplace Conflict

Workplace conflict is never fun, no matter what side of an argument you are on. However, conflict in the workplace is often inevitable—and can even be healthy when handled appropriately. 

Whether it’s between individual employees or different teams, or even within a leadership team, the chance of conflict is high. Conflict can be beneficial to problem-solving when constructive, but when unattended to, it can lead to a toxic work environment. Here are five steps to productively handle workplace conflict when it arises.



5 Steps to Handling Workplace Conflict

  1. At the very first sign of conflict in the workplace, leadership needs to step in. This can include the managers of the respective team and employees involved, as well as looping in HR personnel. In some extreme cases, it may be wise to keep leadership and executive teams informed of any conflicts happening that they may not be around to see. Taking this action early on can help prevent disputes from growing. 
  2. When multiple parties are involved, it’s wise to be sensitive that there will be various sides to a conflict. When aware of a conflict, start the alleviation process by gathering all the facts. Coming into the conversation prepared with crucial information that led to the conflict will help all parties absorb it, talk it through, and ultimately move past it. 
  3. When working through gathering the facts, it may be helpful to speak individually with the employees involved. Still, in any conversations directly regarding resolution, it’s essential for all members involved to get in the same room. Those involved in the conflict should all be present to express their opinions on the matter and help formulate the solution—including HR and management.
  4. When in the middle of conflict, it can often be hard not to let personal feelings interject. When handling workplace conflict, a great way to avoid personal feelings mixing into decisions is to put company goals at the forefront of all conversations. Reminding employees that they are all working toward the same common goals helps unify and re-shift the focus.
  5. While easier said than done, all parties involved must agree on the next steps before moving forward from a conflict. While there may be sacrifices along the way, keeping the company goals top of mind, and formulating a resolution that equally pleases both parties will minimize future conflicts. 


Conflict Doesn’t Have to Be Confusing

Conflicts can be hard to predict and usually don’t have a “one size fits all” solution, but that shouldn’t stop your organization from training your leadership team on how to handle conflict productively. By keeping your employees’ best interest in mind and the company goals at the forefront of all resolutions—conflict doesn’t have to be confusing.


Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics

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