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Work, by nature, brings together diverse individuals, each with their own unique temperaments, beliefs and work styles. With that, inevitably, comes conflict. Workplace conflict is an inherent part of professional life and no organization is immune from it.


Yet the companies with the healthiest cultures have strategies in place for workplace conflict resolution and prevention.

We will discuss some of the ways workplace conflict can negatively affect organizations and what can be done about it, both via proactive prevention and through positive avenues for resolution.


Workplace conflict can take many forms, from a one-time exchange of terse words in the break room to a pattern of hostile behavior on the part of one or more staffers. The causes of workplace conflict can range from personality clashes and differing work styles to systemic mismanagement and even criminal behavior.

The potential implications of workplace conflict are equally varied and can be highly damaging to the work environment. On the lower end of the spectrum, there are hurt feelings that can simmer over to feelings of resentment and disengagement, while on the more extreme end there are work disruptions, employee resignations, and even lawsuits. These negative implications cost companies in the form of reduced productivity, lowered morale, and greater turnover.


So how can employers mitigate workplace conflict and deal with it the right way when it does arise? Follow these time-tested workplace conflict resolution strategies.

Start with Employees

While the employer no doubt plays a big role in conflict resolution, the leadership should come from the top-down. Companies should begin by arming employees with the tools they need to resolve conflict independently. Experts agree self-resolution should be the first avenue for dealing with workplace conflicts before the issue is escalated up the chain of command.

It is not cost-effective for managers and department heads to spend time getting involved every time there is a disagreement between staffers. Rather, set the expectation that when a conflict arises, employees will attempt to work it out on their own first before getting their supervisors involved.

It is a great idea to lay out this expectation in your employee handbook. Communicate that the job duties of every employee, regardless of role, include communicating respectfully, showing tolerance for their fellow employees, and working to resolve conflicts proactively.

We'll contunue next week

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