View our COVID-19 resources page.

Job and Career

Conflict in the Workplace: What’s Your Style?

Workplace conflict is an unavoidable consequence of everyday life. Some employees are magnets for conflict, while others manage to avoid tangles with co-workers on a regular basis.

Eventually however, everyone has run-ins with someone on the job. Managers can spend
anywhere from 25-60 percent of their time working through employee conflicts. What is your conflict style? Avoid, Accommodate, Collaborate, Compromise or Confront? We all generally default to one or two primary conflict resolution styles. How well you understand conflict resolution can have a direct impact on your career path.

Here are 10 ways to help you deal!

  1. Count to 10…or 100.  Don’t let emotions get the best of you. Take your time when responding to potential conflict.
  2. Let everyone speak. Your ears are your best tools you have in resolving conflict quickly and with minimal anxiety.
  3. Choose your battles. Come out with guns blazing in every conflict situation and you are likely to find yourself surrounded with unsympathetic co-workers.
  4. Avoid gossip. Gossip can lead to bad blood and a lot of unnecessary office anguish.
  5. Use business-like language. Exploding with anger and harsh words is a sure way to make a bad situation worse.
  6. Don’t personalize or internalize disagreements. Just like you, people have bad days and say things they don’t mean. Try not to take every disagreement personally.
  7. Repeat your opponent’s words aloud Listen carefully. You may find you identify with some of the challenges they face.
  8. Be open to compromise. Be willing to compromise and you can get away from the hassles of arguing and back to more productive work!
  9. Find a mediator. If your efforts to resolve fail, you may need to bring in a third party to help mediate.
  10. Expect conflict. Recognize that it’s impossible to avoid conflict entirely. When managing conflict, make sure both sides are satisfied with the outcome to avoid the possibility of a flare up later.

The take away here is learning to deal with conflict in a productive way. Don’t let disagreements gather momentum and turn into major crises. Instead, address them ASAP.

Want to learn your Conflict Resolution Style and practice productive conflict resolution skills? Best Care EAP professional counselors are available for individual, confidential support. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (402) 354-8000 or (800) 666-8606.