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What Should You Do to Manage Conflict in the Workplace?

Source |Linkedin .com  |  BY:Michael Gregory, Expert, speaker, and author helping clients uncover perspectives, address conflict and enhance effectiveness

This was originally posted at on April 25, 2017

The stats are out there on conflict in the workplace. So what can you do to help de-escalate others in the workplace. This blog post provides some insights and recommends another article from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation for further reading.

Here are some key statistics:

America has a civility problem. 63% of Americans believe that we have a major civility problem and 71% believe it is getting worse. Civility in America – Weber Shandwick 2013

Research shows that 60-80% of all difficulties in organizations stem from strained relationships between employees, not from deficits in individual employee’s skill or motivation. Daniel Dana, Managing Differences: How to Build Better Relationships at Work and Home (2005, 4th ed.); Barbara J. Kreisman, Insights into Employee Motivation, Commitment and Retention (2002).

The typical manager spends 25-40% of his or her time dealing with workplace conflicts. That’s one to two days of every work week. Washington Business Journal, May 2005.

More than 50% of employers report having been sued by an employee. Society for Human Resource Management survey, cited in USA Today (Workers win more lawsuits, awards, March 27, 2001).

Fortune 500 Senior Executives spend 20% of their time in litigation activities.

Organizations adopting conflict resolution processes, like mediation, report 50-80% reductions in litigation costs. Thomas Stipanovvich, ADR and the “Vanishing Trial”: The Growth and Impact of Alternative Dispute Resolution (2004).

32% of employees are engaged at work and 51% were not engaged at work. 2015

So what should you do?

Control your emotions. De-escalate yourself. If you find yourself starting to become angry or irritated, realize this is happening and don’t let yourself go there. You only have 6 to 10 seconds to realize this, catch yourself and help yourself remain calm.

Once you have forced yourself to remain calm help others to de-escalate. Don’t fuel the fire. If others are not in full control and are venting beyond control, you may need to help them focus on the issues and the facts in a more rational way. Help the other party by asking questions that explore their interests.


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