How to Master Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

Posted in News, Insights, Motivational

Truth: when it comes to the workplace, conflict is unavoidable. Here are some effective ways to manage and master conflict resolution in business.


Mastering and addressing conflict resolution is a topic that comes up regularly with my clients.  I believe that business leaders are responsible for creating a work environment that supports and enables their employees to thrive. Intervening and addressing conflict is imperative to maintain a positive business culture.

What to avoid when it comes to conflict resolution

  • Don’t ignore the conflict, hoping it will go away.
  • Don’t meet separately with people in conflict.
  • Don’t believe (even for a moment) the only people who are affected by the conflict are the participants. Conflict contributes to the creation of a hostile workplace, infiltrating employees that aren’t involved.

Master Conflict Resolution in the Workplace, Marshall ConnectsSteps to Assist in Resolving Conflicts

When teams or individuals are struggling to manage conflict in the workplace I recommend using a framework to work through the conflict resolution process.

1 | Meet with team member(s) together.

  • Ask each to briefly summarize their point of view (without interruption or personal attacks). 
  • Short conversation-clarifies the disagreement and conflicting views.

2 | Ask each member to describe exact actions they’d like to see the other party take to resolve the conflict.

  • Suggest they share 3-4 recommendations

3 | Self-reflection by leadership

  • Sometimes, you, the leader, must own some of the responsibility for helping the employees resolve their conflict.
  • Always ask, “What about the work situation is causing these staff members to fail?”

4 | If the situation needs further exploration, use a process adapted from Stephen Covey - ask each participant to additionally identify what the other employee.

  • Can do more of, can do less of, stop and start.

5 | All team members need to be part of the discussion and commit to making the changes necessary to resolve the conflict.

  • Noticing that the other person has made a change, no matter how small.
  • Treating each other with dignity and respect.
  • Agreeing to disagree respectfully.
  • Not allowing personality conflicts that affect the workplace.

6 | Inform participants that you expect employees to resolve conflict proactively as adults.

  • Let the team know that you will not choose sides.
  • Clearly, state that you will only intervene if the team members have met and are not able to resolve the issue.
  • It is impossible for a person external to the conflict to know the truth of the matter.
  • Reinforce that disciplinary action will need to occur if they cannot resolve the issues.

7 | Reassure both parties of your faith in their ability to resolve their differences 

  • Encourage them to continue on with their successful contributions within your shared organization.
  • Set a time to review progress.

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