Top ten ways to handle a workplace conflict

Arguments can be inevitable in office environments, so when a heated conflict does break out it’s important to resolve it as quickly as possible.

Conflicts can be inevitable in office environments, so when a heated argument does break out it’s important to resolve it as quickly as possible.

That’s why the office experts at have compiled 10 simple steps that will help to diffuse and solve any office grievances.

Among the best ways that an employee can handle a workplace disagreement are to clearly identify the differences between colleagues, try to fix the issue as quickly as possible, and to stay calm when talking.

See also: Are your line managers prepared to manage inter-office conflicts?

Some of the other suggested tips to stop an argument from getting out of hand are to always listen to what the other side has to say, to never point the finger at someone and to address issues instead of the individuals involved.

Chris Meredith, of says, ‘Frustratingly, conflicts are inevitable in any workplace with driven employees, so when one does crop up its vital to make sure its solved quickly and amicably.

‘Regardless of whether you are involved in the conflict or not, there are plenty of ways that you can help to diffuse any heated arguments before they escalate and get out of hand.

‘Communication is key when trying to diffuse an angry exchange in the workplace, so if a conflict starts to boil over the best solution is to make sure that everyone remains calm and that they get a chance to air their issues.

‘Try to use any office conflicts or arguments for something that is eventually beneficial, and if you handle it professionally there’s no reason the end result can’t be a positive one for the whole office.’

These are ten of the best tips to help manage an office conflict, according to

Stay calm

Conflicts at work can be heated and if not handled properly become quickly detrimental for office morale. If you are at the centre of any arguments at work it’s vital to stay calm, as this is the only way to help defuse the situation.

Talk to the person

Unsurprisingly, communication is the key factor to making sure that conflicts are resolved quickly and professionally. The only way you’re going to solve any grievances is through talking it out, so articulate your points clearly and serenely so that your issues are made known.

Listen to what they have to say

Just as it’s important to calmly air your grievances in a conflict, so it is equally important that you listen to the other side and try to understand their issues to clear any likelihood of a misunderstanding.

Act as a mediator

If you are not directly involved in a work-related conflict, but still find yourself at the centre of it, acting as a mediator can help control the situation and prevent any further escalations.

Identify the differences

Setting out the differences between colleagues allows you to address the situation head on, and to make sure that any issues are clearly identified. Once this is done, it will be far easier to address the root of a problem.

Address the issue, not an individual

If you try resolving a workplace conflict, make sure that any discussions firmly revolve around the issues and not the individuals involved. It will be far easier to solve the problem if everyone involved shoulders the blame, rather than just an individual.

Don’t point the finger

Pinning the blame for a conflict on someone doesn’t help move it closer to a happy resolution. Always keep discussions about specific issues and not someone’s personality, otherwise you risk alienating employees by appearing to take sides in an argument.

Seek a solution

Once all issues have been established and both sides of the conflict have had a chance to calmly air their grievances, you can finally begin to seek an amicable solution that will hopefully satisfy both sides of the arguments.

Solve the issue quickly

The longer a conflict drags on for the harder it will be to resolve. When a problem erupts in the office deal with it quickly, otherwise it could end in permanent damage being done to workplace morale.

Use it to create a positive reaction

If properly resolved, a workplace conflict can be used as an opportunity to turn an issue at work into something beneficial. If a grievance occurs, it’s often because of a fault within the company, so fixing this could result in a more positive working environment.

Further reading

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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