Conflict Resolution In The Workplace

Conflict is a natural part of life, whether that be in our day-to-day lives, within our families, or of course, our workplaces. We're going to discuss some of the ways you can navigate conflict resolution in the workplace since it can be a learning opportunity for leaders at all levels. Here at A Better Leader, we feel it's our responsibility to share tips you can implement to ensure that team members and supervisors alike can appropriately face conflict, and ultimately, move past it. recently released a helpful "5 C's to Conflict Resolution" that includes carefully listening, calmly discussing, and more, which can provide some great input on this topic.

A Better Leader has had decades of experience with connecting your workplace with the tools and skills needed to improve communication, for leaders to motivate their teams, and to support employees at all levels. We'll discuss some conflict resolution strategies and tools to improve the overall culture of your organization. Not only will you feel more confident addressing conflict in the workplace, but you will improve the connection between leadership and employees and facilitate an open-door policy that fosters positive communication among your entire organization.

conflict resolution process

Effective Communication Skills and Building Trust

One of the most important conflict resolution skills needed for leaders is effective communication. Considering that a lack of effective communication is one of the most common causes of conflict for managers and supervisors, this is a good place to start working closely with your leaders. Management and leaders alike must have the skills to maintain communication and deepen their connection with employees at all levels. 

To perpetuate effective communication within your organization, there are a few critical steps to take. In addition to an open-door policy, employees must always feel comfortable coming to management at any level and feel that any concerns that they have or feedback they deliver is being heard and taken seriously. Of course, it is equally important for your leaders to have effective listening skills, so there is no question as to whether employees believe their voice is being heard.

Trust is another huge element when it comes to communication. We've written about some of the tools to build trust in the workplace, and communication is number one for a reason! If communication has been an issue you've noticed is prevalent in your workplace, whether from employee engagement surveys or after soliciting feedback from employees, this is an opportunity for you to implement leadership training to address it before it becomes a bigger problem.

conflict resolution in the workplace

Conflict Resolution Strategies and Process

The conflict resolution process can fluctuate depending on where you look, but ultimately, the steps and strategies you'll implement are essentially the same. Here is a basic process for resolving conflict in the workplace:

  1. Address the problem. Of course, the first step is acknowledging that there is a conflict to be addressed. With open and honest communication, the involved parties need to recognize there is an issue to overcome.
  2. Listen; be open and empathetic to information from all sides. This is a critical step to the process, as there are likely uncomfortable feelings and emotions that your employee(s) need to share. This builds the bond of trust between leadership and team members and helps everyone start fixing the issue(s).
  3. Brainstorm possible solutions and evaluate which is best. Ask questions! Ask to define the problem and come up with solutions that will benefit everyone involved. It's possible that airing out the conflict is half the solution, but be willing to discuss what will be most effective while being open to many solutions.
  4.  Choose a solution. After discussing all the possible solutions, help your employee(s) to agree on a solution that balances what everyone needs.
  5. Make a plan to follow-up. Again, this comes down to trust and communication. You will have a huge impact on your employees' trust if you make a plan to follow-up on the conflict, the solutions discussed, the solution that was chosen, and then, most importantly, you actually follow through on the follow-up.

Conflict resolution is not a one-and-done strategy, and it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The basic premise is the same, from addressing the problem to brainstorming solutions that work for everyone and ultimately following up on that solution. There must be a plan in place if the chosen solution doesn't work out, or both parties don't agree to move past the initial conflict. There’s always going to be difficult employees that you have to deal with as a leader in the workplace, but the good news is that conflict does not have to be feared by supervisors and managers. Once there is a plan in place and leadership training that all can easily adopt, it can be a skill that each of your leaders has a deep understanding and confidence in. 

Conflict Resolution Training

If your organization's managers need to develop key conflict resolution skills, our A Better Leader lesson titled "Conflict Resolution" is just what you need! You can schedule a free demo or sign up for a 14-day trial to get started with your first training today. Help your leaders know the right time to intervene and what they can do to resolve conflict.

Here's a preview of what this lesson is all about!

Here's what your leaders will come away with when they complete "Conflict Resolution" training from A Better Leader:

  • What conflict is, and how it can harm - but also help - a team
  • What time is the right time for leaders to intervene
  • Insight into a conflict resolution session

Want to See More?

Sign-up for a free demo of the full "Conflict Resolution" - powerful & interactive training from A Better Leader.

We'll email you a link to get scheduled.

About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is Director of IRI's Digital Workplace Solutions Group, and the founder of A Better Leader. Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.