Conflict can and should be handled constructively; when it is, relationships benefit. Conflict avoidance is not the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication.

Conflict at work comes in many guises. It could be because of a personality clash between colleagues, an employee having an issue with a manager, or rivalry between teams. Without the proper action or conflict resolution, you could damage the productivity and efficiency of your business. The consequence of not addressing these issues could be costly.

There are some practical strategies that you can use to handle conflict in any situation. These include focusing on behaviour and events, not on personalities. Say “When this happens …” instead of “When you do …” Describe a specific instance or event instead of generalising.

Listen carefully to what the other person is saying instead of getting ready to react. Try to avoid interrupting the other person and after the other person finishes speaking, rephrase what was said to make sure you understand it.

Ask questions to clarify your understanding. Identify points of agreement and disagreement. Ask the other person if he or she agrees with your assessment. Modify your assessment until both of you agree on the areas of conflict.

Discuss which areas of conflict are most important to each of you to resolve and develop a plan to work on each conflict, starting with the most important. Maintain a collaborative, “let’s-work-out-a-solution” attitude.

Build on your success. Look for opportunities to point out progress. Compliment the other person’s insights and achievements.

Effective workplace conflict resolution helps prevent the escalation of conflict in your organisation. Get in touch to sign up for our Conflict Resolution training session, either live video training or in-house training, with our expert trainer who can help you resolve conflicts between individuals, groups and teams of people.