How to Handle Conflicts in the Workplace

Sometimes, workplace conflicts are unavoidable, employees can be under stress for work or personal reasons and it can be handled in the wrong way. To handle the issue professionally as a manager, you need to acknowledge both parties involved and take control of the situation. As a leader, there are different emotions to consider as you address the conflict, anger might be the easiest to spot, but other employees might be experiencing sadness or confusion and its best to respond differently to people depending on how they’re feeling.

If conflicts aren’t handled correctly, employees who feel poorly treated can end up with lower productivity in work or their attendance can be impacted as they may feel uncomfortable coming into work. Even if a situation is subtle, a manager should never ignore it, if it’s left long enough the conflict will blow out of proportion and employment lawyers may need to get involved. Here are the ways to address workplace conflicts and help to avoid them from the beginning.



Work environments are likely to experience the occasional disagreement, there are always different approaches to tasks and arguing a point shows a passion for the job. A manager has the ability to avoid conflicts completely by encouraging a positive workplace which in turn, will help employee’s approach each other on disagreements with respect. When a conflict does arise, a manager needs to look at both sides of the argument to show understanding and consideration to both parties. After deciding the outcome, addressing the employee who was wrong should be done pleasantly and feedback should be shown with their opinion in mind.

If the individual doesn’t accept your final verdict, you should watch their work floor attitude. Making sure they and not negatively impact other staff members as this will just lead to more conflict. A firmer discussion may be needed to highlight why their approach isn’t acceptable, should be done on a one to one basis, public discussions aren’t as effective for changing attitudes, the embarrassment can make them feel uncomfortable with other staff members.

Correct Resolution

Confident and quick decisions are good signs of a leader which will encourage respect. However, a rash incorrect choice will lose staffs loyalty in future workplace issues, and a manager’s choice might be dismissed as part of this. Although conflict needs to be dealt with quickly, taking the time to listen and understand different opinions is key to maintaining authority and keeping the employee’s respect.

Professional and Personal

In most workplaces colleagues can become friends outside of work and a conflict may have occurred outside of work. Whilst addressing the argument asking about any other issues outside of work may help you find the root of the problem. Showing genuine concern to other non-work related issues can help staff talk through their problems, they may need to change teams or slight changes to resolve the problem.

Further Steps

On some occasions, employees at fault may not accept the decisions and may continue to bring issues into the workplace and lower overall morale for other staff members. Workplace bullying is also an unrespectable conflict in work and after several official warnings, it might be time to discuss the employee’s future with the company.

Bio: Richard Meadow is a writer that works on topics in relation to employment, business operations and law. He is always interested in new subjects and articles to read about and enjoys writing about them, dispute resolution lawyers are a current interest for him and current stories in that area.