Conflict Management in the Workplace: How Employers Should Handle Interpersonal Conflict Between Employees

If you have ever led a team of employees before, you likely needed to resolve issues between them. As an employer, ensuring that your employees work in harmony for your organization’s progress is crucial. Conflict can pop up like an unexpected guest and disrupt your worker’s vibes or moods.

Conflict management in the workplace involves the use of skills and processes to find ways of providing solution to any disagreement between workers. Management of conflict in the workplace is needed to promote unity among various departments of an organization.

In this article, I will walk you through how to manage workplace conflict.

The Four C’s of Conflict Management

  1. Containment

Containment helps to put workplace conflict under control. It brings order to a situation that has become chaotic.

  1. Confrontation

Confronting means putting tackling the conflict headlong before it degenerates into something chaotic. When you suppress a conflict, you make it more destructive and less manageable. The conflict becomes cold and can do much damage before it comes out.

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  1. Compassion

Compassion helps restore the trust lost in conflict since it generates functional communication, allowing co-workers to understand what their adversaries think and their reasons.

It is not necessary to agree with your worker’s views. Still, if you do not understand them, your effectiveness is reduced because you will deprive yourself of relevant information that would have helped to manage the conflict.

  1. Collaboration

Collaboration in conflict management means reorganizing the way people relate to each other. It helps the parties move their attention beyond the conflict and transcend it, creating a new relationship. To adopt a collaborative attitude in conflict, it is necessary to ensure your employee learns to work as a team.

For collaboration to be possible, the parties must commit to each other and the process. However, for conspiracy to occur, it is sometimes necessary to use containment measures to eliminate mistrust between your workers and build a common goal that eliminates the possibility of a recurrence of hostility.

Five Conflict Management Styles

  1. Arbitration

The arbitration style is used to solve serious situations that require a quick solution. It consists of a third person, the employer or the head of human resources. As the head of the organization, you propose an answer after listening to the parties.

  1. Facilitation

Facilitation is applied to resolve conflicts of low or medium severity. It consists of a neutral third person helping the parties to dialogue, but be careful! It does not solve the conflict since it will come from a consensus between the parties.

  1. Mediation

Using this conflict management style is advisable when the negotiation between the parties to reach a standard solution is at an impasse. It is more formal than facilitation and consists of a mediator who will create the right environment for the parties involved to understand each other.

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  1. Enquiry

Enquiry involves the intervention of one or more experts to make assessments and recommendations on conflict management. These experts try to get information on what caused the conflict and proffer ways to manage it.

  1. Negotiation

Negotiation involves getting the views of the fighting parties and making them propose what they think would be the solution to the current problem. This way, it won’t look like you are siding with one party over the other.

Conflict Management Steps 

Workplace conflicts cannot be avoided entirely, but if they can be handled in a better way, it will improve the performance of employees; here are some conflict management steps:

  1. First, analyze the personalities of your co-workers

You may have to use psychometric tests during the hiring process to know the behaviour of your potential worker. These tests can be beneficial during general work. Review the results of the psychometric tests of people involved in conflict within your organization and analyze their behaviour and personalities. Understanding these differences can help you make informed decisions and clarify why all the trouble arose, making it easy to make the best conflict management decisions.

Many times, it is not necessary to intervene. Conflicts can affect the entire company, but it is often unnecessary for everyone to get involved. Learn to steer clear of problems your team can solve independently. Taking distance from the issues will also help you analyze the solutions objectively and use the best conflict management approach.

  1. Always listen impartially

To be good at conflict management, you must listen openly, without prejudice, to all parties. Everyone will have their version of the story, and you can have all the information you need to make better decisions. The more objective you are, the easier it will be to fix these conflicts.

  1. Always look for the root of the problem

Orient your investigation towards the leading cause of the conflict. It could be a temporary problem or a deeper one that involves several people and affects the work environment of the entire company.

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  1. Research at all levels

Large percentages of conflicts at work are due to problems between directors or senior executives. If there is an internal fight between two senior managers, it is normal for both teams to want to side with their leader, generating unnecessary conflicts.

  1. Settle for a joint solution 

A good leader does not impose solutions but guides and works with his team to find practical solutions. When resolving a conflict, he discusses the different options and decides what is best for the group. He even considers the problem’s protagonists, something that will help with team building.


Workplace conflicts are brutal to prevent because your employees are different. But, as a leader or owner of a company, you need to understand how they originate and try to solve them as quickly as possible.

Also, resolving workplace disputes will make your employees happier in their work environments.


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Yahaya Abdulrahman
Yahaya Abdulrahman
Hello, it's me.. I have been writing for over three years and I love it. I am a full-time freelance writer, and I have worked with a few companies. My goals are to show my clients that I can provide value and be a good asset.

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