Five Tips for Better Management of Workplace Conflict

Human beings are used to experiencing conflict in their lives. Growing up with brothers and sisters, arguing with parents or children, and engaging animatedly with coworkers are some of the examples of conflict people experience in their lives.

Workplace conflict is a little different, as you are encountering people who are not your close friends or family. People are expected to behave professionally in a workplace, which is why arguments or long term conflicts can feel so out of place.


If you are struggling at work due to a conflict that has arisen between you and another employee, or yourself and another team within the company, you must resolve that conflict quickly.

Below are five tips that will help you better manage workplace conflicts.

1. Identify the Source

No one can resolve a conflict if they are not aware of the true source of that disagreement. If you are arguing with another person, try to understand why they are antagonistic or argumentative towards you. 

Try to discuss the issue in a calm and rational manner. Perhaps you can write up an email or a workplace chat message that you send to the other person. You may even want to ask a colleague at work who knows both of you to act as an intermediary.

2. Talk Privately

The last thing you should do during a conflict is to publicize the problem. Dealing with workplace politics is very stressful and having the entire office know that you are in a fight with a coworker may result in a very uncomfortable few weeks or months.

If you do engage with the other person, talk privately. You can get another person involved, as suggested in the step above, but ensure it is someone both of you trust. They must agree to keep the matter confidential before you ask them to get involved.

3. Practice Active Listening

Humans have a habit of thinking they are listening to someone, while merely forming their own thoughts and opinions in real time. 

When someone is talking to you about a problem you two are experiencing, do not try to form arguments to their words within seconds of them saying something.

Try to actively listen to what they are saying. Listen to the situation from their perspective and attempt to understand why they feel a certain way about you. Only when you listen and put yourself in their shoes, and they do the same for you, can the two of you find some common ground.

4. Try a Cooling Off Period

When you do talk with the other person or persons with whom you are experiencing a workplace conflict, do not expect an instant resolution. Even if you have a very productive conversation, consider a cooling off period where you avoid each other and do not talk about the matter.

Use that period to contemplate what was said on both sides. Perhaps something the other person said stuck with you. It may make you reconsider your own position. They may feel the same way about something you said.

After you spend a few days thinking about your conflict and the conversation you had with your coworker, both of you can meet to talk again. The cooling off period will help both of you come up with practical solutions for burying the hatchet and working with each other harmoniously. 

5. Evaluate In a Few Weeks and Decide on Future Strategies

A few weeks have passed since you came up with a solution with your coworker about a conflict the two of you were experiencing. Did the solution work? Are you two on better terms?

If the answer to both those questions is yes, then you have made real progress. You were experiencing a workplace conflict that threatened to ruin your time at that job, but now you are in a much better position.

Use what you learned from these circumstances to make better decisions in the future. Think about how this conflict began and how you could have avoided making it such a major issue in the first place.

In the unlikely event that you were unable to resolve the initial conflict, you may want to talk with your manager or supervisor to see if they can move you to a department where you no longer have to interact with the other employee. 

Try These Steps Before Throwing in the Towel

Your workplace conflict may have become so frustrating to experience that you are ready to quit your job. Before throwing in the towel, try each of these five tips to see if you can find a resolution to the problem you are experiencing.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.