How to Handle Conflict in the Workplace
Last Updated: August 14, 2015 11:19:37 AM PDT
When people work together, conflict is often unavoidable because of differences in work goals and personal styles. Follow these guidelines for handling conflict in the workplace.
- Ask the other person to name a time when it would be convenient to meet.
- Arrange to meet in a place where you won't be interrupted.
- Say “When this happens …” instead of “When you do …”
- Describe a specific instance or event instead of generalizing.
- Listen to what the other person is saying instead of getting ready to react.
- Avoid interrupting the other person.
- After the other person finishes speaking, rephrase what was said to make sure you understand it.
- Ask questions to clarify your understanding.
- Summarize the areas of agreement and disagreement.
- Ask the other person if he or she agrees with your assessment.
- Modify your assessment until both of you agree on the areas of conflict.
- Discuss which areas of conflict are most important to each of you to resolve.
- Start with the most important conflict.
- Focus on the future.
- Set up future meeting times to continue your discussions.
- Stick with the discussions until you’ve worked through each area of conflict.
- Maintain a collaborative, “let’s-work-out-a-solution” attitude.
- Look for opportunities to point out progress.
- Compliment the other person’s insights and achievements.
- Congratulate each other when you make progress, even if it’s just a small step. Your hard work will pay off when scheduled discussions eventually give way to ongoing, friendly communication.
The information on this page summarizes provisions of university policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. Refer to the Personnel Policies for Staff Members
(PPSM) and local implementing procedures
or applicable collective bargaining agreement
for full text of referenced information.