The 8 Rules of Managing Conflict at Work

Conflicts at work can give rise to a number of problems that make your job very difficult which impacts on your happiness outside of work as well as during work hours. Follow our 8 rules of managing conflict at work to resolve all conflicts in the workplace that may arise.

managing conflict at work

1. Recognise That Conflicts Will Happen

2008 international study by CPP showed that 85% of employees have to deal with conflict of some degree. Causes were 49% personality clashes and warring egos and 34% stress related. If conflict is handled correctly it can have some positive outcomes such as new ideas, progress and a more productive workplace.

2. Know Your Issue

At the beginning of the conversation, make sure everyone is on the same page and agrees on what the issue is. Seek conflict resolution if it affects the quality of your work, for example, if you are waiting for someone to give you information but they are delaying. The quality of your work can also be affected by a hostile environment or if the conflict is causing you a lot of stress.

3. Compromise & Be Flexible

Conflicts are always easier and quicker to resolve when both parties are willing to compromise and be flexible about the outcome. Try and forget about being right and focus on how you are going to achieve a satisfactory outcome for all parties. Consider the other person’s point of view to try and achieve a resolution to the conflict.

4. Keep It Professional

The conflict is in the workplace where everyone is expected to behave professionally at all times. It will only reflect badly on you if you blame the other person or become aggressive in your language or tone of voice. Try and remain calm so you can come across as courteous. If you don’t take it personally then you will have a better chance of remaining professional.

resolving conflict at work

5. Use The Right Language

Stay factual in what you say and don’t use emotions. Use “I” statements rather than “You” statements. Be aware of not using sweeping generalisations, try and stay specific. Keep your tone of voice low and calm to avoid inflaming the situation.

6. Prevention Is Key

Try and deal with the conflict before it escalates into an explosion and affects everyone’s working environment. If it’s a recurring problem then it needs to be nipped in the bud early before it gets worse. They rarely blow over so be proactive and take action.

7. Emails

Emails can often be a cause of upset in the workplace. Always think about what you put in writing and how it affects someone’s emotions at work. If your having a bad day or if you’re feeling frustrated about a situation, think carefully before you put things in writing.

8. Mediation

A third-party mediator will be impartial and can help both parties achieve a resolution if conflict resolution is not successful. This mediator could come in the form of an impartial colleague, manager or member of your HR department.


Would you like to read more top tips for employees at work? Continue reading our recruitment agency blog.