June 9, 2015

Conflict is not only common but natural in good working environments. Additionally, it can provide a great opportunity for both individual and organizational development. The general attitude, however, often holds disagreement as a negative and something to be avoided. Maintaining this attitude can stifle company progress and harm working relationships by either preventing or slowing the reconciliation of differences.

Within this article, we offer 5 keys for confronting various types of workplace conflict. These can increase the chances for positive outcomes while also helping to set the stage to build stronger and more productive relationships.

Know Your Stance And What You Want

Partly formulated arguments without focus will be less effective and more susceptible to criticism. Even some of the best ideas will fail to be convincing if they are not conveyed correctly. Therefore, prepare for confrontation, think about why you believe in your idea or stance and anticipate how others will respond.

Depersonalize Your Arguments

Conflict usually generates high emotion, which can lead to targeting the person rather than the issue. This will negatively effect the resolution process in several ways. By attacking the person for even a brief moment, we run the risk of decreasing our ability to be heard. In addition, it can escalate emotions, compel others to reciprocate on personal attacks and shift momentum in the wrong direction. Remember, the goal is to not just achieve a positive result on the current issue but build better relationships for resolving future disagreements.

Be Prepared to Resolve Conflict Completely

There is nothing worse than entering into a cycle of conflict since it will be a continual drain on resources and morale. This can occur when we are not motivated enough or perhaps, bold enough to settle disputes to the level necessary. Thus, be prepared to withstand both mental and emotional fatigue for as long as it takes. And, during the times we want to relent for the wrong reasons, focus on the potential gains and the fact that problems will become cyclical.


Without hearing the other person, dispute resolution is almost impossible. Ironically, it is exceedingly common for listening to stop when arguing begins. As others talk, we often selectively listen while subtly building our arguments and waiting for our turn to speak. This can be due to believing there is no reasoning we haven’t thought of. When we stop thinking this way and listen to understand, conversations are going to be more productive. We will also be showing respect, which is necessary for healthy relationships.

Know When To Seek An Arbitrator Or End Decision Maker

There is usually someone who can either make final decisions or mediate. It is highly important to know when this type of person is required. This may be essential if both parties are failing to reach an amicable settlement or it is inappropriate to handle disputes directly. In regards to the former case, prolonged disagreements with little or no progress can elevate emotion and increase the potential for negative results. In the latter case, using incorrect channels can be disrespectful and create an unfavorable environment.

Conflict will always arise when people with different backgrounds are working in conjunction. What distinguishes a good team from a great one is how they resolve their differences. Moreover, successful companies are defined by their ability to generate a progressive ecosystem through talented, yet, diverse sets of teams that can fluidly work together.

Inter-Connect Employment Services is a leader in building high performance teams. Contact us today to learn more.

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