Improve your conflict management skills

Improve your conflict management skills

Conflict is an inevitable part of business. According to a 2008 CPP Global study, employees spend an average of 2.8 hours a week managing conflicts in the United States. It is therefore important to know how to manage these in order to minimise situations that may jeopardise team cohesion.

Preventing conflicts

It is essential to focus on the warning signs of conflict in order to prevent it. There are always subtle signs that something’s wrong before a conflict: repeated absence, non-communication of information, being late with projects or assignment deadlines, mutterings, forgotten invitations to a meeting or latent disorganisation. Once spotted, these signs must be dealt with. Try and ask questions as you express your feelings. For example: “I feel left out, I feel like something’s not working properly. »


Conflicts are resolved through communication. In tense situations, clearly identify your needs and requirements. Prepare a list of concessions that you are ready to make. Also ask your co-worker to clearly express their needs. Lastly, don’t try to convince the other person but rather identify a solution, depending on the concessions you are willing to make.

Keep some distance

Emotions often take precedence over everything else during a conflict. So focus your communication on the “how” and the desire to find a solution rather than the “why” and the origin of the conflict.

Dissect the causes of the conflict to better resolve it

Rather than wanting to manage the conflict as a whole, it is better to try to break it down to understand it better. A conflict combines several components: professional, emotional, personal and organisational. Firstly, identify the different factors of the conflict as well as their type (professional, emotional, etc.). Secondly, deal with the components one by one in order to find the solutions adapted to each one.

Call upon a third party

If after all these attempts at defusion your conflict is still there, call upon a third person. This mediator, not involved in the conflict, will first meet individually with the various involved parties, then he or she will summarise their points of view during a collective feedback session before proposing solutions to be tested by mutual agreement. 

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