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Managing Conflicts at Work

Managing Conflicts at Your Workplace

Managing conflicts at workplace is not as difficult as you think!

In a workplace buzzing with dynamic ideas, differing viewpoints are bound to arise. Besides, all human beings are volatile masses of emotion with varying degrees of egoism and sensitivity inter-woven into their psyche. Therefore, conflicts that arise in the workplace should be treated like waves in the ocean which must arise for the pace of work to flow. And just as they arise, so shall they dissipate. But sometimes when a conflict is blown out of proportion - threatening to disturb a peaceful environment and becomes an obstacle, the power of positive thinking can work wonders!

Conflicts at workplace can be of the following types:

·         Territorial conflict (who does what within the same work environment)

·         Policy conflict (how a particular job is done)

·         Personality conflicts (diverse working styles)

Resolving conflicts, to a great extent, depends on how each of us perceive or react to a particular situation, for e.g. Is your response too emotional and angry or is it calmly controlled?


Whatever the type of conflict, it can definitely be resolved. Remember, you have the power to break down barriers of resistance in a situation that seems particularly difficult to overcome. How is this possible? By exhibiting an outwardly calm and positive exterior, the other party is almost always forced to concede and thus levels of tensions in the workplace are brought down by a few notches. Proceed then to:

·         Stay calm and tell yourself that there is a way out.

·         Take a minute to examine your expectations from others. Do they seem too high or are perceived as unnecessary? For e.g., Is the suggestion really important for successful completion of a particular project, or can it be deferred?

·         Focus on solving the problem instead of blaming the person/persons.

·         Do not let personal likes or dislikes interfere e.g. “I don’t like him/her” is a negative feeling that destroys reason.

With a little bit of understanding and some self control, negative responses like the following can be made positive -

·         Aggressive behaviour like hostile body language and making offensive remarks to coerce others.
Result: The other person is hurt and mentally shuts down.
Solution: Tone down your reaction and try to open a discussion that uses more of ‘I feel…’ than ‘You are....’.

·         Avoiding confrontation that develops into a cold war.
Result: Problem remains unsolved and resentment simmers leading to further misunderstanding. Work pace slows down.
Solution : Approach the problem logically in a positive manner and if possible through a mentor to initiate a discussion.

·         Accommodative behaviour where the other person succeeds in intimidating you.
Result: Your interests and your valuable suggestions get sidelined leading to frustration and bitterness.
Solution: Believe in yourself and the value of your suggestion. Assimilate your facts and put them forward in a convincing and encouraging manner keeping the goals of the organization in mind.


Active Listening, which means making an effort to understand what the other person is thinking and feeling. This creates empathy and breaks down resistance in the conflict.

Assertive Behaviour, which means keeping your cool despite being thwarted or shouted at. Calmly point out logical reasons and solutions without using harsh words. Assert yourself by sticking to your viewpoint without raising your voice.

Positive Communication that encourages a two-way conversation aimed at solving the problem with the intention to save time and proceed with the work.

Logical reasoning where both sides succeed in reaching a mutually acceptable solution, so that goals of the organization or project are not sidelined and peace at workplace is restored.


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