How to conquer workplace conflict - a brief guide for managers


Each of us has a unique personality and different beliefs, ambitions and opinions. Given an appropriate forum, airing and exchanging our own views with others can be a constructive exercise, but in some instances a clash of personalities or opinions can lead to outright conflict. Workplace conflict can arise at any time and for many reasons: the promotion of one team member over another, the arrival of a new employee who is deemed to have upset the status quo, and organisational or cultural changes within the business are typical examples.


It is vital for a manager or leader to recognise the symptoms of workplace conflict and deal with it even-handedly and effectively before it has the chance to escalate and damage team morale and productivity. As part of our innovative and practical range of on-line training modules, Maguire Training provides courses that examine every aspect of Managing Conflict and which equip delegates with the knowledge and expertise required to resolve workplace conflict swiftly and appropriately.


What to do when conflict arises


The golden rule for any business leader or manager seeking to resolve workplace conflict is not to turn a blind eye to it. Conflict between teams or employees will not resolve itself naturally; unless it is tackled early on conflict is liable to escalate, become damaging and be much more difficult to deal with.


Depending upon the severity of the conflict, a manager's first course of action should be to bring the conflicting parties together, in an open forum to talk through their grievances in a controlled and constructive manner as a means to reaching an acceptable resolution. Allowing each party to 'let off steam' (without resorting to personal criticism) and gain a greater understanding of the others' point of view is often sufficient to enable the manager to find a mutually acceptable position of compromise.


However, if the conflict situation is significantly serious it may be necessary for the manager to take aside each of the involved parties individually to identify the root causes of the problem. Care must be taken to separate personal opinion or belief from the facts. In the mediation process of any dispute the manager must be seen to remain entirely impartial and must work with each party equally to reach a conclusion to the conflict which is acceptable to everyone.


Successfully recognising and resolving workplace conflict will earn you respect as a manager and demonstrates that you are not afraid to tackle difficult issues head on. Courses from Maguire Training such as Conflict Management, Handling Difficult Conversations and Assertive versus Aggressive Behaviour provide managers and leaders with an armoury of effective tactics for dealing with all kinds of workplace conflicts to ensure the maintenance of a calm, stable and productive environment.

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