Career Center, College of Business

How to keep peace during conflict

By Zaria Washington | May 9, 2024

Conflict in the Workplace

No workplace is perfect. Everyone’s perceptions are different. This can cause workplace conflict.

Conflict can lead to a toxic work environment. Mark Perna, a writer at Forbes magazine, wrote “toxic work culture is the #1 factor driving people to resign.” He defines the word toxic as an “unpleasant feeling.” 

Numerous things could cause this feeling in the workplace. For example: not feeling fully supported by management or your team, not feeling like you have a voice, not feeling respected, lack of communication, witnessing unethical behavior, or seeing moral values decrease, can lead to a toxic environment.

Good leaders address conflict when it arises. As you use servant leadership principles to solve problems, you will earn respect.

5 Helpful Tips

There are many ways to resolve conflict. Richard Trevino wrote an article entitled The 5 Cs Approach to Conflict Resolution in the Workplace. In it, he outlines basic steps to resolve workplace conflict.

1.   Carefully listen to both parties when dealing with conflict. You may think this is a simple step, but most people only listen to respond. Active listening is a good skill to have as a leader. It allows you to consider other points of view before deciding how to move forward.

When conflict arises, shutting the other person out is not the best option. Actively listen even if you disagree.

2.   Be considerate. Both parties must see each other’s perspectives. Miscommunication often leads to conflict in the workplace. It is important to understand the emotions that can go along with the conflict.

When conflict arises, evaluate how it started. Then, resolve the root cause. 

3.   Calmly discuss conflicting perspectives. Leaders cannot take sides during a conflict. Trevino says, “How we respond to conflict can intensify tension.” He also shares that, “calmer minds produce clearer ideas.”

When conflict arises, step away momentarily. This helps you see the bigger picture. 

4.   Conscientiously look at the facts. Conflict is not always black and white. Do not let workplace drama cloud your judgment.

When conflict arises, focus on resolving the problem and moving forward.

5.   Cooperatively work together. Conflict can be solved in multiple ways. Find a way for all parties to work together in order to resolve their issues.

End with a better understanding to avoid future conflicts.

Conclusion

There are many ways to deal with workplace conflict. Not everyone is always going to see it your way.

 Disagreement is okay. It is not okay to let disagreements discourage you from speaking up in the workplace. Leaders need to communicate effectively, in order to resolve conflicts when they arise. These five steps can help you solve conflicts of any size in the workplace.


Zaria Washington is a field operations associate at Aerotek Staffing. She has been working in the staffing industry for two years. She is currently working toward her MBA.

References

Perna, M. C. (2022, June 3). Toxic work culture is the #1 factor driving people to resign. Forbes. Retrieved July 24, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/markcperna/2022/06/01/toxic-work-culture-is-the-1-factor-driving-people-to-resign/?sh=727f56b868f1

II, R. T. (2020, June 11). The 5 ‘CS’ approach to conflict resolution in the Workplace. Entrepreneur. Retrieved July 24, 2022, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/350374 


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