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Resolving conflict in the workplace in 8 easy steps


This guide outlines a step by step process for resolving conflict in the workplace smoothly to get things back on track. No matter how awesome your work colleagues happen to be, there will come a time when conflict at work raises its ugly head. We are all different and it’s quite normal to have a bad day.

8 steps for resolving conflict

But the good news is that here are 4 steps for resolving conflict to ensure that these little misunderstandings do not develop into something more serious.

1. Look at the issue

Allow the opposing teams or individuals to have their say and try to get them to observe how the problem has arisen as the first step in resolving conflict. It’s perfectly natural for people to lose their cool when their point of view isn’t being considered. But if they can take a step back and be a little more considerate, it’s possible to turn that conflict into a manageable solution. Nobody is always on the right side and you should try to remain neutral in order to convince your team that you are all on the same side.

2. Listen before acting

The key in this step for resolving conflict is to encourage the team to say less and hear more.  Whilst working as a counselling advisor for the team at Canadian Choice Windows and Doors Edmonton, we outlined that when we are arguing, it can become near impossible to be able to take in what else is being said.

Let one team/individual at a tine have their say and explain that it is vital to keep opinions to the minimum until they have heard each side of the story. Again, you must remain impartial until this has played out to the conclusion. Sometimes it is possible for both trains of thought to be aligned in a way that makes the team far stronger. You just have to work on the less probable ideas, and this can only be achieved by listening clearly and concisely.

3. Facts are important

Sure, we all stretch the truth on rare occasions but in the workplace that isn’t going to win any arguments. These can arise when opinions differ, so it is best to weed out any inconsistences when resolving conflict. That means fact checking and ensuring that both perspectives are taken into consideration. This works best when the first two paragraphs are adhered to because this allows for both sides to be able to state their case. If you find that they do have a relevant standpoint, then it’s time to join forces and get the absolute best solution for you and your colleagues.

4. Team is everything in resolving conflict

It may sound like a cliché, but we are stronger together and it is important to use this type of synergy in a positive way when resolving conflict. If we all had the same ideas and perspectives, there would be very little creativity to feed from. Conflict in the workplace for Ottawa window companies really can be transformed into making the team stronger in the long run. You will also start to understand the weaknesses and flaws that must be avoided in the future.

5. Focus on the problem

Rather than blaming particular individuals, identify the issues at stake, and invite others to think of solutions. Describe how you feel about the current situation and how it affects the organization.

Avoid repeating rumors or gossip, and focus on the positive of the potential benefits for your organization to resolve the issue. If others agree it’s a problem, ask them to help you brainstorm ways to make it better.

6. Engage in joint problem solving

Because that way others may see a situation quite differently than you think, start the discussion by asking open-ended questions and testing your hypotheses.

7. Promote effective feedback

Know that in the future you will face problems sooner or later. So help your co-workers give good feedback so they can express their concerns in a positive way rather than expressing their opinions. People who give good feedback ask questions, describe how the situation makes them feel, and give details.

They show appreciation when they justify themselves and make suggestions to improve working relationships. Furthermore, the department must be an environment where feedback is welcome and not punished. Examine why it has been difficult to raise difficult questions in the past. Make it easy for people to raise their concerns, and schedule meetings regularly to discuss ongoing issues.

8. Choose a role for resolving conflict

Going forward, you and others can play many different roles in your organization, formally and informally, to resolve conflicts that may arise. In his book The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop (Penguin, 2000), William Ury describes different ways to help prevent, resolve and contain conflict. These include taking on the role of provider, teacher, bridge builder, mediator, arbiter, equalizer, witness, judge, or peacemaker.

Choose a role where you feel authentic, even if it means building connections with department members who are new to you and helping to mediate a dispute between members of a task force. While not everyone will recognize that your intervention is necessary in skillful negotiation, they will certainly be aware that you have made an important contribution to the work environment and resolving conflict.

By following these proven tips for resolving conflict, your workplace can get back on track and start to produce the best work as a unified team. Don’t forget to use the very next conflict as an opportunity instead of an obstacle and get those results that we all strive for together.

About Faye Ferris

Faye Ferris is the APAC Sales and Marketing Director for, one of the world’s largest online global market places for buying and selling small-to-medium sized businesses. Faye is passionate about helping Australian small business succeed and regularly writes about entrepreneurship and business management.   Twitter Handle:

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