argument-pixabay freeDealing with Conflict in the Workplace

By Gregory Gjurich, HR Consultant

Why do you think conflict rises to the level of an argument…or even a shouting match? Typically it is because one of the parties does not feel they are being heard. It is not so much about who is right or wrong as it is about understanding—understanding the other party’s point of view. If someone feels they have been heard–that their concerns are valid even if they cannot be executed, accepting a contrary decision is much more palatable.

Faced with conflict in the workplace?  Here are 10 steps to resolving conflict:

  1. Schedule a meeting to address the problem, preferably at a neutral place.
  2. Set ground rules. Ask all parties to treat each other with respect and to make an effort to listen and understand others’ views.
  3. Ask each participant to describe the conflict, including desired changes. Direct participants to use “I” statements, not “you” statements.  They should focus on specific behaviors and problems rather than people.
  4. Ask participants to restate what others have said.
  5. Summarize the conflict based on what you have heard and obtain agreement from participants.
  6. Brainstorm solutions. Discuss all of the options in a positive manner.  Rule out any options that participants agree are unworkable.
  7. Summarize all possible options for a solution.
  8. Assign further analysis of each option to individual participants.
  9. Make sure all parties agree on the next steps.
  10. Close the meeting by asking participants to shake hands, apologize and thank each other for working to resolve the conflict.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)