Managing Conflict

Our current economic climate has increased the level of competition and constraints within the workplace, creating increased tensions as expectations are raised but resources are decreased. 


It is inevitable that conflict will develop within, and between, organisations and it is how we deal with them that is important.  In many ways conflict can contribute to the health and growth of a business or organisation if dealt with positively and constructively.  However, as individuals we all feel differently about conflict and approach its resolution in a variety of ways.


A team, and how it performs, can be seriously damaged if members or leaders of that team do not deal with any difficult personalities or issues of conflict within it.  Many people will opt to look the other way or accommodate the more ‘high maintenance’ individuals within a team, in order to keep the peace and in the hope that the problem will go away.  This rarely happens.  


As individuals we have the power to create changes in other people and their behaviour by adapting our own style; what we say, how we say it and when we say it.  Not only will resolving and managing conflict contribute to maintaining the harmony within your organisation but by dealing with difficult situations you will earn the respect of the rest of the wider team.


So how should we manage conflict? 

Managing and resolving conflict requires skill.  Here are some tips from Podium’s Occupational Psychologists to help you achieve a win-win outcome:

  1. Be open to what both party’s need from the situation.
  2. Consider how you would feel in the other party’s position.
  3. Use positive language to emphasise your desire to resolve the situation. e.g. ”There must be a way for us to rectify this”.
  4. Take the time to listen to the other party’s view and actually ‘hear’ what they have to say.
  5. Keep calm and remain in control of your emotions.
  6. Challenge rather than confront e.g. “My understanding was….” Rather than “you said”
  7. Ensure you are portraying positive body language and look approachable.
  8. Avoid words such as “always,” “never,” i.e. “you never listen to what I have to say”.  It won’t be true and makes you sound irrational.
  9. Always conduct any form of conflict resolution face to face.
  10. Utilise the When - I feel - What I’d like approach. For example, “When you talk over me at meetings, I feel frustrated and that my view isn’t important, what I’d like is to be able to finish what I am saying and contribute to the decisions being taken.”


Useful reading:

Getting to Yes - Negotiating Agreement without Giving in

Roger Fisher, William Ury, Bruce Patton

ISBN: 9780395631249
Describes a method of negotiation that isolates problems, focuses on interests, creates new options, and uses objective criteria to help two parties reach an agreement.


The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution: Preserving Relationships at Work, at Home and in the Community

Dudley Weeks


Contact Kathryn to find out how Podium Training & Development can help you and your team manage conflict.