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How you can effectively manage conflicts at the workplace

Unresolved conflicts are like ticking time bombs.

Unless you’re someone who buries their head just to keep the peace, conflicts at work are bound to occur. At some point, you will disagree with something your boss wants you to do or something a colleague said. You might even let your anger get the best of you (don’t because it is unprofessional to tell someone at work to shove it and will put you in a bad light even if you’re right).

Conflicts don’t resolve themselves; in fact, they escalate if you sweep them under the rug. Think of unresolved conflicts like ticking time bombs. Don’t fret though, we’ve curated a list of techniques that will help you effectively manage a workplace conflict without it blowing up your chances of growth in a company.

Develop a plan of action

Picture this. You’ve just had a difference of opinion (and that’s putting it nicely) with a teammate. Now you’re awkward and don’t know what to say to them but you know you have to pacify the situation. Before you go up to them, formulate a plan of action that talks about a solution. Then, in a calm manner have a conversation with your teammate and explain your stand and your solution. The goal is to get them on the same page as you. 


Communicate clearly

If we could underline this point in red three times, we would. No conflict would ever be solved without clear communication. In fact, if you avoid dealing with a conflict instead of communicating and actively listening, it will worsen the situation. You might misinterpret their intentions and harbour negative feelings towards them. The best thing to do is to speak to them privately and resolve the matter before it gets out of hand or hampers your work.

Keep the ‘WIIFM” factor in mind

WIIFM stands for ‘what’s in it for me’ and it’s the first question you must ask yourself before stepping into a conflict. Is the point of contention worth all the time and energy that will go into it? Does whatever solution you are hoping for personally benefit you in any way? If the answer to all these questions is a whopping ‘yes’, go ahead and take your stand. But be ready with a solution. The best conflict resolution technique is to present a solution while presenting your problem. This way, they know what you’re fighting for and that you’ve worked it out instead of diving in impulsively. 


Conflict is opportunity in disguise

If you view all conflicts as opportunities to grow and learn, no conflict will seem unresolvable. In fact, when handled correctly conflicts can actually be healthy and lead to effective team bonding. If you get into a disagreement with someone, always think about what you can learn or what the takeaway from the situation is. This will help you come to terms and reach a solution faster.

Keep the timing in mind

While it’s crucial to not let anger fester and speak to the person you’ve had a conflict with, timing plays a huge role. You need to give them some time and space and take some yourself, too. Think about what happened, what you learned, and what the outcome can be. Once you’ve had time to process, go and speak to them even if you don’t agree with their stand. If you don’t take this time out and try to resolve the conflict while things are still heated, chances are it will blow up and get much worse.