Managing Conflict In The Workplace: 5 Steps HR Leaders Can Take

October 16, 2018 Christina O'Handley

Managing Conflict In The Workplace

As an HR professional, managing conflict in the workplace is inevitable. In fact, 85% of professionals experience workplace conflict.  However, how your organization handles these conflicts can make all the difference in creating a positive work environment. And in today’s candidate-driven market, not properly managing conflict in the workplace can lead to increased turnover for your organization.

There are certain ways you can handle conflict in the workplace. Here are a few tips to set you up for success:

Address the conflict

If a conflict arises between two colleagues or within a team, it’s important to quickly address it. Allowing time to pass before a conflict is acknowledged can cause tension to build, which may escalate the situation.

Allow each party to speak about the situation

Before any resolution can take place, take the time to meet with each individual separately. You’ll need to understand the conflict from both sides to get a full picture of the issue. An individual meeting will also give each person the opportunity to express their feelings, which should be acknowledged to help resolve the conflict.

Listen carefully to both sides

While you speak to both parties in conflict, you’ll need to remain unbiased— carefully listening to understand the situation from the two perspectives. This will help you discover the core problem and uncover each person’s needs. To showcase you are actively listening, confirm the issue with each party so they know that you understand the situation and that you are taking it seriously.

Show empathy for everyone involved

It’s important to be respectful and genuine when managing conflict. Think about what both parties are feeling and put yourself in their shoes. Showing true empathy showcases your respect for everyone involved in the situation. This can ease the tension and allow both sides to work towards a resolution.

Guide the conversation toward a solution to the problem

As you mediate the conversation, try your best to facilitate a conversation that focuses on the problem at hand and not the people involved. You’ll also want to encourage both parties to create a solution they are both comfortable with.

Follow up after the conflict is resolved

Although an initial conversation between the parties in question can be helpful, you don’t want the issue to come up again or the tension to linger. As a result, you’ll want to follow up with everyone involved in the conflict to ensure progress has been made.


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