Strategies to Resolve Workplace Conflict

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A difference of opinion, it happens and is essential to have at workplace to do things differently. However when the difference of opinion becomes the show stopper, it turns into a workplace conflict. After effects of such conflicts leads into non-cooperation of individuals or teams, raising of barriers to induce delays, lowering the motivation, ultimately organization’s suffers. A conflict in professional life arises due to personality clash between individuals, or it could be due to different perceptions related to man, machine or workplace ecosystem. Lack of communication seen as one of the major factor within a team or organization to give birth to conflicting situations.

I would like to start with my quote “Disagreement is not always a conflict, it is one’s perspective to look at things differently” – Piyush Govil

Conflicting situation have no direct approach to reach a resolution. Leader or a Manager, need to adopt best practices across industries to achieve the desired outcomes. Timely corrective measures to be taken to find the permanent solution rather left neglected which may result in rebirth of a conflicting situation.

Conflict resolution techniques which are predominantly practiced are collaborating, compromising, accommodating, forcing and withdraw. The circumstances decide the applicability of any technique and clearly depict the leadership style of a person. As a leader, one needs to be wise enough to quickly access the problem area to heal the situation.

Let’s explore some effective tools and techniques to resolve disagreements at workplace before becoming an issue

Effective Listening- Giving an ear to a problem is one of the best therapy to cure the ailment. Root cause to any conflict can only be identified when a mediator first listens patiently to concerned individuals or groups. It helps to understand the type of conflict and accordingly take necessary steps.

Do Not Drag the Situation- As soon as conflict situation arises, it needs an immediate attention. The situation may become worse when left unattended or avoided which develops into a hard to heal wound. At the same time conflicting situations requires a very cautious approach so that affected parties able to each a resolution amicably.

Do Not Judge Person, Act on the Problem – An issue needs to be the punching bag, not the person. Conflicts at workplace occur due to varied perceptions about the state one foresee while performing any activity. While resolving conflicts, it is harmful to create perceptions about others. Focus should always be on a problem and not any individual.

Avoid Blame Game – While resolving the conflicts mediators should be vigilant enough so that one should not make other guilty of a situation. We cannot make accusations on each other’s simply because one is not agreeing with the other’s assessment.

Communication – Communication has a very important role to play. One can easily predict a conflict in offing based on, how effective leaders are, while disseminating information to any individual or within their teams? Encourage the two individuals to talk, discuss the problem areas face to face and clear the clouds of confusion. Proactive communication always facilitate, putting the lid on the conflicts in the nascent stage itself.

Employing simple steps like showing perseverance, patience and thoughtfulness, difference in perceptions can easily be transformed into rewards, a path to innovate and do things differently in any organization.


Author – Piyush Govil, Associate Director- HR at Infozech Software Private Limited, He has over 20 years of the professional experience in Human Resources working with major IT Software Development Project Management Companies. In earlier days of his career, he was being involved in IT infrastructure management before moving into IT software development. Prior to Infozech, he worked with ABES Engineering College, Asentech LLC and ALS India.

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