Important Conflict Resolution Skills for the Workplace

What are conflict resolution skills? And what does it mean to resolve a conflict or to leave an unresolved conflict open for too long? Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of life. It can arise in our personal relationships, with friends, family, and romantic partners, or at work, with colleagues.

Many people avoid conflict at all costs, but this isn't always the best strategy.

In fact, avoiding conflict (when two or more parties fear conflict and are avoidant of the issues) can often lead to bigger problems down the road.

Learning how to resolve conflicts effectively is an important skill that can help you maintain healthy relationships and resolve disputes in a constructive way.

conflict resolution skills

Why is it important to know how to resolve conflicts?

Conflicts can be stressful and unpleasant, but they aren't always bad. In fact, many conflicts are productive and can even strengthen relationships when resolved effectively. Here's why it is important to know how to resolve conflicts:

  • It's an essential life skill that can help you maintain your personal relationships.
  • You will be more successful at work and have higher performance ratings if you know how to resolve conflicts.
  • It can improve your problem-solving skills.
  • You will be less likely to experience stress and anxiety in your personal life and at work if you know how to resolve conflicts.
  • It can help you build your confidence and self-esteem.

Conflict resolution skills

There are many conflict resolution skills that you can use when dealing with workplace conflicts. Some of the most important ones include:

Active listening

This is a crucial skill that can help you resolve conflicts. Active listening requires paying attention to the other person's body language, tone of voice, and words, as well as taking time to understand their perspective. When you are actively listening, you aren't thinking about what you are going to say next or how you can prove that you're right. You are simply listening to the other person's point of view and trying to understand it.

You can use active listening skills by asking questions about the other person's point of view, repeating back what you heard them say, and paraphrasing their words to ensure that you understand them correctly.

To practice active listening, try listening to a podcast or radio show and then paraphrasing what you heard in your own words. You can also practice active listening during a conversation with a coworker or friend.

Practicing active listening can help you resolve conflicts because you will be able to better understand the other person's point of view. If you can understand their perspective, it will be easier for you to come up with a solution that works for both of you.

Negotiation

Negotiation is another key conflict resolution skill. Negotiation involves working with the other person to find a solution that meets both of your needs.

When you are negotiating, it is important to make sure that you aren't trying to impose your will on the other person or demanding that they accept your solution. Instead, you should be listening to what they want and coming up with a solution that works for both of you.

You can practice negotiation by discussing solutions to a problem with a friend or coworker. You can also negotiate when you are buying something, such as a car or house. For example, if you are buying a car and the seller won't come down on their price, you can try to negotiate by offering less than what they are asking for.

conflict resolution skills

Negotiation can help you resolve conflicts because if you can find a solution that meets both of your needs, then you will be less likely to feel like there is no way out of the conflict.

Problem-solving

Problem-solving is a key conflict resolution skill. Problem-solving involves thinking of possible solutions to a problem and then selecting the best one.

When you are problem-solving, it is important to be creative and think outside the box. You should also consider all of the possible solutions, even if they seem far-fetched. You may come up with something that you wouldn't have thought of if you had only focused on the ones that were most obvious.

You can practice problem-solving by brainstorming possible solutions to a problem. For example, if you are having trouble coming up with a solution to a problem at work, you can try brainstorming with a coworker. You can also practice problem-solving by solving puzzles or brainteasers.

Problem-solving can help you resolve conflicts because it allows you to think of solutions that you may not have considered before. This means that you will be less likely to feel like there isn't any way out of the conflict.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence involves understanding your own emotions and those of others, as well as managing them in a way that is helpful rather than harmful.

When you are trying to resolve conflicts, it is important to know how your emotions can impact your decision-making. For example, if you are feeling angry or defensive, you may not be able to think clearly and may make decisions that aren't in your best interest.

You can improve your emotional intelligence by learning about emotions and how they work. You can also practice managing your emotions by using techniques like mindfulness or deep breathing.

Emotional intelligence can help you resolve conflicts because it allows you to understand your emotions and how they are impacting your decision-making. This can help you make decisions that are in your best interest and not based on emotions like anger or frustration.

Communication

When you are trying to resolve a conflict, it is important to communicate effectively with the other person. Communication involves speaking clearly and listening to what they have to say, as well as understanding their point of view.

When you are communicating, it is important to be assertive but not aggressive. You want the other person to know that you understand their perspective, and that you are willing to work together to find a solution.

You can practice communication by talking to your friends and family about problems that you are having. You can also practice communication by giving presentations at work or school, where you will need to speak clearly and assertively in front of an audience.

Constructive conversation can help you resolve conflicts because it allows you to share your perspective with the other person and listen to theirs. This can help you find a solution that works for both of you.

Collaboration

Collaboration involves working together with the other person to find a solution. You both share concepts and work together to create a solution that satisfies both of your requirements when you collaborate. This can help you be more productive and less likely to feel like conflicts are holding you back from achieving your goals.

You can practice collaboration by working on projects with other people at work or school. You could also play a game like chess, where you each have to come up with a strategy that works together in order to win.

Collaboration can help you resolve conflicts because it allows you to work together with the other person to find a solution that works for both of you.

It can be a good idea to start by making sure everyone is on the same page about what happened and what the conflict is about. This way, you can make sure that everyone understands the issue and isn't just guessing.

Patience and Empathy

Patience means having the ability to wait for something or someone without getting angry. It can also refer to being able to put up with difficult or unpleasant situations without losing your temper.

Patience and empathy go hand in hand. Empathy means having the ability to understand how someone else feels and seeing things from their perspective.

Practicing patience can help you resolve conflicts because it allows you to put yourself in the other person's shoes and understand their point of view. Empathy can help you do the same, and it can also help you come up with a strategy for resolving conflicts.

Some ways to practice patience include waiting your turn in line, listening without interrupting others when they speak (even if they're wrong or saying something you disagree with), and not losing your temper even when someone else does.

Positivity

Positivity refers to having a positive outlook on life. It can also mean being optimistic about the future or hopeful that things will work out in the end.

Positivity is important in conflict resolution because it can help you stay calm and maintain a positive attitude, even when things are tough. It can also help you come up with creative solutions that might not seem obvious at first glance but could work out well in the end.

When you enter the conflict resolution meeting, you should be calm and ready to discuss with consideration for differing perspectives. Some ways to be more positive include looking for the good in every situation, staying hopeful even when things seem bleak, and being grateful for what you have. You can also practice positive thinking, which is the belief that good things will happen to you in the future.

conflict resolution skills

When you're feeling down, it can be easy to focus on all the bad things that have happened recently or are going wrong in your life right now. But by staying positive, you can change your perspective and see that things might not be so bad after all.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the act of letting go of anger and resentment towards someone who has hurt you. It can also mean forgiving yourself for past mistakes or choices you've made that weren't good decisions.

Forgiveness can help you resolve conflicts because it allows both parties to move on without holding onto any ill will or bad feelings. It's a way of saying "I'm over it" and let go so that you can move forward without dwelling on what happened.

This skill is important in conflict resolution because it allows both sides to let go and move forward without holding onto grudges or bad feelings. It can also help to repair relationships that have been damaged by a conflict.

Some ways to be more forgiving include apologizing when you have done something wrong, asking for forgiveness from others if needed, and being willing to accept apologies from others when they have done something wrong.

conflict resolution skills

Flexibility

Flexibility means being adaptable or open to changing your mind in order to accommodate new information. It can also refer to the ability to deal with unexpected situations without getting upset or stressed out.

Flexibility is important in conflict resolution because it allows you to change your approach if things aren't working out the way you planned. It also helps you stay calm and collected when something unexpected happens.

Some ways to be more flexible include being willing to try new things, being open to other people's points of view, and being able to change your plans if necessary.

Assertiveness

Assertiveness is the ability to speak up for yourself or express your needs in a way that doesn't come across as aggressive or demanding. It can also mean standing up for your rights in a way that doesn't involve harming others.

It is important for conflict resolution because it can help you communicate your needs and feelings effectively. It can also help you get what you want without resorting to threats or violence.

Some ways to be more assertive include speaking up for yourself, setting boundaries, and asking for what you want. You can also practice saying "no" to things that aren't in line with your values or beliefs.

Impartiality

Impartiality is the ability to remain neutral in a situation. It can also mean being fair, objective and unbiased when making decisions or giving feedback.

Impartiality is important in conflict resolution because it prevents you from favoritism or taking sides. It also allows you to be objective when making decisions.

Some ways to be more impartial include listening carefully to what people have said before making up your mind, considering all points of view, and keeping your emotions in check.

conflict resolution skills

Conflict resolution strategies

There are many strategies you can use to resolve conflicts. The strategy you choose will depend on the situation and your conflict management skills. Here are some common strategies:

Clarify the source of the conflict

If you have a conflict at the workplace, the first step is to clarify what the source of conflict is. You can do this by asking them questions or listening carefully to what they say. Once you have identified the source of conflict, it will be easier for you to resolve it.

Clarification is an important conflict resolution strategy because it helps both parties understand the problem and find a solution. Some ways to clarify what's causing the conflict include asking questions, listening carefully to what the other person has said before making up your mind, and keeping an open mind.

This is especially important when dealing with difficult people because they may not be willing to listen or cooperate. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What exactly is the problem?
  • What do you think we should do about it?
  • How would you like this resolved?
  • Are there any other issues we need to consider?
  • Is there anything you don't want me to do?
  • Can you give me an example?
  • What have you done to try and solve this problem?
  • What would you like me to do differently in the future?

These questions will help you clarify what is the source of conflict and find a solution.

conflict resolution skills

Acknowledge differences

Another important strategy is to acknowledge differences. This means recognizing that each person has different values and beliefs, but they can still work together to resolve conflicts.

It's important for workplace conflict resolution because it helps build trust between people and prevents them from getting defensive when their beliefs are challenged.

Some ways to acknowledge differences include listening carefully to what the other person has said, considering all points of view, and being open-minded about possible solutions.

Avoid blame or fault-finding

This means don't place blame on another person for the conflict. It is also important not to point fingers at each other and make accusations.

This is an important conflict resolution strategy because it can help prevent the situation from getting worse. It also allows you to focus on the problem instead of who is at fault.

Some ways to avoid blame or fault-finding include not accusing others and keeping an open mind about possible solutions. When you're dealing with difficult people, it's also useful to ask questions instead of making statements. For example, you can ask "why" instead of "why not". This will help you understand their point of view and find a solution together.

Listen carefully to each other

This means listening carefully when the other person is talking and asking questions to clarify what they have said. It's also useful to paraphrase what you've heard so that everyone is on the same page.

You should also give them time and space if they need it to express their thoughts and feelings. This is important because it allows the other person to feel heard and understood, which can help resolve the conflict.

Some ways to listen carefully include paraphrasing what they've said back to them in your own words, asking questions about details, and giving them space if they need it.

Listening carefully is an important conflict resolution strategy because it helps to satisfy the concerns of all parties involved.

Take responsibility for your actions

conflict resolution skills

This means taking responsibility for what you have done in the past and how it has affected others. It's important not to make excuses or blame others for your actions.

This is an important conflict resolution strategy because it shows that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions. It also helps build trust between people and prevents the situation from getting worse.

Some ways to take responsibility for your actions include admitting when you're wrong, apologizing for your actions, and taking steps to make things right.

Be willing to compromise

This means being open to different solutions and not insisting on having things your way. It's important to be flexible and find a solution that works for everyone.

This is important because it allows both parties to feel like they've won something and prevents the conflict from continuing. It also builds trust between people.

Some ways to be willing to compromise include being open to different solutions, listening carefully to the other person, and not insisting on having things your way. It allows involved parties to feel heard and understood.

Seek outside help if needed

If the conflict is too difficult to resolve on your own, you may need to seek outside help. This is important because it allows you to get professional help and resolve the conflict in a healthy way. It also prevents the situation from getting worse.

Some ways to seek outside help include talking to a friend, family member or therapist about your concerns and asking them for their advice on how to resolve the conflict.

Understand that not all conflicts are worth resolving

Some conflicts are so difficult to resolve that it may be better if you just let them go. This is important because it allows you to focus on the things that are more important in your life.

It helps you understand when it's time to walk away from a conflict. It also prevents the situation from getting worse.

Some things to consider before resolving conflict include the severity of the conflict, how much time and energy you have to devote to it, and whether or not there is a clear solution.

Give the other person some space

When you are in conflict, it's important to give one another some space. This allows both parties time to cool off and prevents the situation from escalating.

If you do not give one another some space, it may lead to more conflict or even violence. It is important to understand that when we are in conflict, our emotions can get out of control.

It's also important to remember that the other person may not want to talk to you. This doesn't mean that they don't want to resolve the conflict, it just means that they need some time to calm down.

Don't take things personally

This means not taking the other person's comments and actions personally. It's important to remember that they are not attacking you personally, they are attacking the problem.

When you take things personally, it can lead to an emotional reaction and make it difficult to resolve the conflict. It also makes it more difficult to see the situation objectively, which is necessary in order to address conflict more effectively.

Try to understand why the opposing party is saying or doing what they are. This will help you see their perspective and work towards a resolution.

If you can understand why someone is reacting a certain way, it makes it easier to respond accordingly. This prevents unnecessary conflict and helps to resolve conflict more quickly.

conflict resolution skills

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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