Conflict management: How to effectively mediate

By Reggie Moore

Conflict is a natural part of life. It can be difficult to avoid in the workplace, especially when there are more than two people involved and different points of view. Working through conflict with your colleague effectively means being able to solve the issue at hand. There are many ways to deal with conflict and not all of them require you or your colleague to talk things out. Here’s how you can work through the issue when it arises:

Listen carefully and define the problem

Be attentive, make eye contact, and don’t interrupt until they’ve finished speaking. Don’t judge their feelings or thoughts by making statements like “You’re being too sensitive!” It is important that both parties be heard without feeling belittled or prejudged in any way. This step is especially crucial for those who may have had to speak up more often than others due to unequal voice at the table before this point – if one person has been silenced or ignored repeatedly overtime before a new disagreement surfaces then getting an opportunity to speak is very important.

Once both parties have heard each other out, it is time to put words to what has happened and identify specifically what needs to be addressed or resolved. Be specific about how they would like things to change in order for them to feel better with the situation – this may mean that one party makes concessions but also holds firm on certain points of disagreement (such as a task being assigned before another colleague feels ready). Being able to define the issue takes away any ambiguity from either person; rather than an argument over something nebulous, now there’s a clear goal and path forward together.

Find a common ground

Even if you disagree wholly with your co-worker, find some point of agreement so that you can work towards an amicable solution. You may not be able to agree on how the situation should play out, but it is possible to find points of agreement about what doesn’t need to happen moving forward or certain changes that don’t require concessions from either party. If things are getting heated and neither side feels heard, take some time apart before reconvening – this will give both parties space for reflection as well as allow emotions to settle down so they’re more receptive when coming back together again. This step also gives plenty of opportunities for each person’s support team (co-workers, family members) to weigh in if needed; sometimes hearing other perspectives has a calming effect even if people disagree with those opinions.

Offer a solution

This may happen at any point during the process, but if it doesn’t then this is how you resolve conflict in a way that both parties agree with and feel comfortable. It’s important to ask “What can we do together?” rather than “What does each person want from the other?” The latter question puts more of an emphasis on individual desires which are often difficult themes for people as they navigate their work relationship – keeping things collaborative instead helps everyone focus on what will be good for them collectively.

Conflict is a natural part of life and it is possible to work through any disagreements without resorting to legal action or mediation. The sooner you are able to get in touch with your own feelings and where the other person may be coming from, the faster things will settle down. If you want to measure your employees progress on both the conflicts and the successes, then consider using employee engagement software.

It’s important that both parties feel heard before anything else can happen so that they’re not just arguing for argument’s sake – this means taking care with how questions are asked as well as how statements are made. Never lose sight of what brings people together at work (a sense of belonging) while also recognizing there might be some points of view that differ; if those differences cannot be worked out then conflict becomes an inevitable reality instead of something uncomfortable but manageable.


Reggie Moore is a professional writer and proto-entrepreneur. When not trying to tinker with a new thing, process, or idea, Reggie can usually be found saying the words “Well, actually…” to an unsuspecting bystander.


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