Resolving conflicts in the workplace is imperative to a healthy workplace culture. Leaving conflicts unsolved builds resentment among team members and creates a toxic environment that can be distracting from the work that needs to be completed.
As a leader, it’s your job to help resolve any conflicts that arise and to act as a mediator between employees when necessary. Properly handling conflict resolution can also help influence employees to better solve future conflicts on their own.
To help get you started, 10 Young Entrepreneur Council experts share different ways they recommend approaching conflict resolution and the example that sets for your team.
1. Determine The Type Of Conflict First
First and foremost, find out what type of conflict you are dealing with. Is this a task-based disagreement or a work-style mismatch? Is there a leadership issue or a personality clash? Each of these conflicts would have to be addressed differently. Because you’re someone who can see the situation from an outside perspective, it’s your job to help people get to the root of the problem and help them solve it. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
2. Assume Innocence
The best way to approach conflict resolution in the workplace is to assume innocence. You don’t want to start choosing sides or forming opinions until you hear both sides of the story. When the inevitable conflict arises, pull both parties aside separately and get their version of the events. If it’s warranted, I then bring both people together and hash out the problem. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
3. Make Everyone Feel Heard
A certain amount of conflict is inevitable when people work together, sometimes under pressure to meet deadlines and customers’ demands. When conflicts do occur, it’s important for managers to make each party feel that their position is valued. Give everyone a chance to share their perspective without interruption. You may not be able to please everyone, but you can make sure everyone feels heard. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
4. Be Open And Honest
Conflict is inevitable. It’s a part of life, and it’s often the catalyst for change. Leaders can choose to avoid it, but this can cause resentment and frustration. To avoid this, leaders should approach conflict resolution by being open and honest about their feelings, listening to the other person’s point of view and then finding a solution that works for both sides. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
5. Focus On The Problem, Not The Individuals
The best way to resolve conflict at work is to focus on the problem and not the individuals. Set guidelines about how you resolve conflict if it ever arises between employees. Always make it clear that it’s about the problem and not the individuals. This will set expectations, and people will be more observant about it, which can decrease conflicts altogether. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
6. Speak With Both Parties Individually
Most stories have two versions, and conflict arises because people don’t want to think beyond their own perspectives. So, talk to both parties individually. This gives them the chance to vent their anger while letting you understand both sides of the story. You can then talk to them together and help them see the matter from each other’s perspectives. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
7. Help Them Come To An Agreement
Conflict resolution is going to test your skills as a listener and as a person. Consider the record of behavior of both parties. Do both teammates have good track records? Or does one have a reputation for causing friction on your team? Get them to agree on a definition of the overall outcome, and move toward that vision. They’re both part of your team. Try to let everyone walk away with dignity. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
8. Have Transparent Discussions
One way that I approach conflict resolution is by having transparent discussions. I think it’s important that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and that they feel comfortable discussing any problems or concerns they may have. By being open and listening to what others say, we can better understand the situation and come up with a resolution that works for everyone involved. – Pratik Chaskar, Spectra
9. Encourage Proper Communication
I always try to encourage my team to communicate openly and honestly with each other. This sets a good example for how they can resolve conflicts on their own. By communicating openly and honestly, we can usually come to a resolution that everyone is happy with. However, if we reach an impasse, I am always willing to mediate the situation to help find a solution that works for everyone. – Sujay Pawar, CartFlows
10. Avoid Your Biases
I try not to form opinions beforehand. This I believe is the key to successfully resolving conflicts in a workplace. We are all susceptible to unconscious bias, and it’s the most critical of the social stereotypes you form for people or groups without even realizing it. So, I try not to succumb to any form of bias or form opinions, and instead I resolve conflicts based on the facts presented by the parties. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms