Best Practices: Ways to Manage Workplace Conflict Better

Published July 15, 2021

Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. Here are nine tips to help you best navigate workplace disagreements.

1. Avoid editorializing and exaggerating during the discussion. Focus on the facts as well as potential solutions. It’s about the end game, not how you got to where you are.

2. Conduct individual chats. Then strategically attempt to identify common interests and expectations.

3. Create opportunities for healthy conflict. Identify the parties participating in the conflict and bring them together to voice potential solutions.

4. Don’t interrupt or jump to conclusions. Take a ‘strategic time out’ to think over the situation before responding. If you can’t work out your differences, bring in an unbiased third party to facilitate a productive conversation.

5. Make sure all parties feel they’re being heard. Set up a dedicated time for the discussion and use reflective listening skills – try to understand the other person’s perspective and repeat it back to them. 6. Assume positive intention. Suspend your right to be offended and instead make the most generous assumption possible about the other party. You’ll discover that at the root of most conflict is a positive intention gone awry.

7. Learn communication styles and preferences, beginning with your own. The more attuned you are to one’s communication style, the more effective you’ll be at landing your important points and navigating a difficult conversation.

8. Put yourself in your colleague’s shoes. Imagine the situation from your colleague’s point of view and allow for the fact that they may be right. What changes about your point of view from this perspective?

9. Resolve workplace conflict with DUEL. Diffuse, Understand, Explain and Listen.

(Source: AICPA - CPA Letter Daily - Association of International Certified Professional Accountants - August 23, 2018)