Five Steps to Manage & Resolve Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict is a word that causes many of us a great degree of discomfort, anger, frustration, sadness, and even pain. Conflict is no stranger to any of us. We experience it all the time in our daily lives – with our , friends and increasingly so in our professional lives. It is a regular aspect of life.

Today we live in a flat world as one big global village. There is an increase in workforce diversity whereby organizations have teams comprised of employees from different geographic locations, diverse cultural and cognitive backgrounds with various outlooks. In the workplace where individuals have different perspectives on the same issues, sooner or later, there are bound to be disagreements sooner or later.

Conflict can happen when different views or opinions come to light. When conflict can be seen as nothing more than different points of views, it sets the stage for possible positive outcomes for the issue at hand.

The idea is not to try to prevent disagreements, instead to resolve and manage conflicts effectively. When individuals or teams can use appropriate resolution tools and skills to address an issue, they can keep their differences from escalating into problems.

Establishing some type of conflict management process within an organization is far better than allowing avoidance, denial, passive-aggressive indirectness, or plotting how to occur amongst the employees. In the conflict resolution process, individuals and teams can explore and understand their differences and use the information to interact more positively and productively.

Below are five basic steps to follow in resolving a conflict.

1. Identify a safe place and time to talk

To allow for a constructive conversation, individuals generally need to feel that they are in a ‘safe place’ – one that will enable them to take the risk involved for honest communication about the issues at hand.

This means finding a private and neutral room, a location that isn’t the office of one person or the other. For conversations that start in a more public place, it is helpful if the two persons can move to a more private area within the room