Three employees in an awkward, tense meeting

Tips for Effective Workplace Conflict Resolution

Conflict in the workplace can be healthy if everyone is productive and communicative while maintaining professional boundaries. However, sometimes conflict is just conflict and drives a wedge between teams, reduces productivity, negatively impacts morale, and requires intervention.

This article will help team leaders de-escalate conflict in their workplace with expert tips in conflict resolution and workplace mediation.

Read more: When HR Should Hire a Mediator to Resolve Workplace Conflict

Techniques to de-escalate workplace conflict

Practice compassionate listening and communication skills

One of the most important elements of managing workplace conflict is to apply empathy to the situation. You don’t know what people are going through in their personal lives, and maybe this conflict is just a projection of the realities they’re facing.

Read more: Taking a Trauma-Informed Approach in Workplace Conflict Resolution

Demonstrate empathy without prying into their personal affairs but work towards gaining perspective into the source of the issue. You may find that what they’re really upset about has nothing to do with the organization or colleagues.

Once you gain a bit more of an understanding of the root cause of the conflict, find ways to help solve or attend to the issue without getting directly involved or enabling the individual to walk all over you.

Encourage meaningful conflict for business growth

Innovative, competitive organizations will have lots of differences among their leadership team and staff; therefore, tensions are inevitable. Whether it’s between different roles or departments, tension is normal and healthy as they can ultimately result in positive change for the organization and its people.

Help employees embrace conflict by discussing the tensions openly and freely – with respect and empathy. Your team will begin to understand what they may have originally perceived to be interpersonal conflict is really just healthy, role-based tension.

Don’t play the blame game

Blaming others does nothing but drive a deeper wedge into an issue. Regardless of the circumstances of the conflict, acknowledge accountability where it should be seen but don’t linger. Taking responsibility for one’s actions shows willful participation and resourcefulness in improving relationships and finding solutions.

See both sides

Working to see both perspectives not only validate what each participant is going through, but it creates an environment that is founded on resolution rather than conflict.

Take a step back

Taking a short break from conflict helps gain perspective, organize thoughts and information, and reduce emotions which can be helpful in facilitating resolution.

Control your reactions

Whether you’re directly involved in an issue or not, it’s more important to listen and calmly ask questions rather than talk. Resist the urge to get defensive or make assumptions; instead, practice active listening.

By limiting your reactions, you’re allowing yourself to act rationally and focus on problem-solving and critical reflection.

Don’t attack employees’ character

One of the most effective ways to derail conflict resolutions is to start attacking the other person’s character. It’s a surefire way to add fuel to the fire of an otherwise manageable conflict and limit the chance of improving the situation.

Don’t stonewall your employees

Stonewalling is an effective way to increase frustration and slow down the process of finding a solution. Ignoring others and not listening to their perspective demonstrates a lack of empathy, care, and respect for their opinion and your relationship with that person.

Avoid over-generalizations

Saying broad statements like “I always” and “you never” are over-generalizations that can be accusatory. This type of approach will lead the other party to get defensive, frustrated, and uncooperative in the quest for resolution.

Avoid the need to be right

There are shades of grey, and determining who’s right and who’s wrong will do little to effectively resolve conflict. Work towards understanding each other rather than explaining why you’re right in the situation. It’ll lead to a stronger, more honest relationship.

Foster an empathetic workplace

If you’re directly involved in the dispute, it can be challenging to take a step back and apply empathy to the situation but try to gain other perspectives and consider how they may be feeling.

Think of it this way – seeing yourself through the eyes of someone who is upset with you forces you to confront some of your own insecurities or personal issues. While it can be painful and difficult, it can also lead to more self-awareness and ultimately help to avoid future conflicts.

At the end of the day, working towards understanding how someone else feels helps you respond to the issue in a more compassionate way.


Further to the aforementioned de-escalation techniques to help address conflict in the workplace, if issues do arise leaving organizations without a clear path forward to resolution, consider consulting a professional workplace investigator or mediator.

A neutral, un-biased approach helps to settle disputes in the workplace while maintaining a safe, productive environment. Other expected positive impacts include improved relationships and teamwork, enhanced performance, a sense of purpose, and protection from legal ramifications and other costly alternatives.

Explore Workplace Investigation Services

Explore Workplace Mediation Services

The Takeaway

While conflict has the opportunity to strengthen your organization, it can also have detrimental effects on your workplace culture and productivity if not managed appropriately. When tensions are high, apply empathetic intervention with strong communication to address the issue and avoid contributing to the tension.

If your organization is experiencing conflict, consulting with a neutral third-party facilitator will resolve distracting, challenging situations and empower all participants involved to settle on an agreeable solution and continue being productive within the organization.

At Global Mindful Solutions, we have established a process that aims to provide insightful, comprehensive solutions with a compassionate and unbiased approach. This allows all participants to focus on getting back to work and continue making a positive contribution to their organization while leading a fulfilling role in their careers.

Contact Global Mindful Solutions to get started with neutral, knowledgeable, and effective investigation, mediation and facilitation services.

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