How To Mediate Conflict in the Workplace (And 9 Tips for Finding a Resolution)

How do you resolve a conflict between two employees?
  1. Stay calm. …
  2. Listen to understand. …
  3. Be tactful. …
  4. Focus on the future, not on the past. …
  5. Ask the right kinds of questions. …
  6. Pick your battles. …
  7. Offer multiple solutions. …
  8. Be creative and confident.

Using mediation can reduce formal discrimination complaints (in the U. S. ) and employment tribunal claims (in the U. K. ). As a result, some businesses invest in training their employees in the method, while others may decide to enlist the help of official, outside mediators to settle a dispute, particularly if it is significant and complex.

Although serious disputes are probably uncommon within teams and many individuals will resolve any disagreements amicably on their own, mediation can be a useful skill for managers to acquire. They may be able to handle more serious conflict within their teams as soon as it occurs with confidence and effectiveness.

Nevertheless, it is not always the best course of action. For instance, bullying and harassment incidents can result in serious repercussions for those at fault, such as formal warnings, dismissal, or even legal action, and the alleged victim may feel too vulnerable to fully participate. You should consult with your HR department for guidance in these circumstances as you’ll probably need to follow a more formal procedure.

Critical Advice from Conflict & Mediation Expert Chad Ford

Steps to take in conflict mediation

Through mediation, managers can build workplaces that will support their companies’ success and the well-being of their employees. It prevents conflicts from destroying the company’s positive culture and hurting the entire operation. Here are some typical steps for employee mediation:

What is employee mediation?

Mediation is especially helpful for resolving interpersonal conflicts between coworkers because it encourages open dialogue and different perspectives. Companies can avoid litigation fees and maintain relationships with customers and employees by quickly resolving disputes.

How to mediate conflict in the workplace

By implementing these crucial suggestions, the fundamental mediation process will be greatly enhanced and produce more beneficial outcomes. Whether you are a mediator or one of the disputing parties, you ought to:

1. Stay calm

Be understanding of others and remember that everyone faces different stresses and problems at work and at home. Think about whether any personal issues could be a cause of this conflict. Stay calm and be cheerful and reassuring when possible. Use mediation as an opportunity to show your leadership skills.

2. Listen to understand

Many people only pay attention to their opponents during disagreements in order to create counterarguments You might realize that some of the other person’s points are true if you listen carefully and try to understand them. People frequently use their anger as a defense mechanism to mask their hurt or fear. People need to be heard and allowed to express themselves until they begin to calm down in order to diffuse their anger. Then, they’ll start to feel secure enough to open up to you about what’s really driving them crazy.

Each party involved in resolving a dispute should feel fully heard. Listen carefully and avoid interruption. Invite participants to provide additional details about the problem. More information will put you in a better position to find a fit solution. While listening, look for commonalities between the opposing parties and concentrate on finding solutions while keeping these in mind.

3. Be tactful

You can get a more receptive response from people by explaining your viewpoint to them in a respectful manner. If you are mediating, make sure the parties involved understand that there must be respect during the conversation and that opinions should not be presented as fact.

When possible, compliment people before giving criticisms. For example, you could tell a landscaper:

Although the yard in front of the office is beautiful, I noticed that some of the bushes next to the road on the building’s side are growing tall. Can you trim them a little next time you visit?”.

Alternately, as the mediator between the two parties, you could express your appreciation to each and encourage them to do the same. For example, you could address both employees:

Samantha, it surprises me that you forgot to call a customer back because I know you always put customer service first. ”.

And John, it surprises me that you felt Samantha wasn’t following through because I know you are an excellent team player and dedicated to helping your team. ”.

4. Focus on the future, not on the past

Discuss how to fix the issue and prevent it from happening again in the future rather than focusing on what went wrong or who should have prevented a mistake. Companies can examine the past to determine exactly what went wrong, but your top priority should be fixing the current issue.

5. Ask the right kinds of questions

Make sure they comprehend your need for an answer if you want them to respond to you honestly. Give the person a clear explanation of your question and state your goal upfront so they won’t have to speculate. Be cordial and ask others what they think is crucial to know about the circumstance. This shows those you interact with that you’re doing your best to complete your task, come up with a solution, and satisfy everyone.

For instance, you could provide more context by saying, “Tell me why you feel unsupported by your team members, so as a team we can better support you and our goals,” in place of, “Tell me why you feel unsupported by your team members.” ”.

6. Pick your battles

People can become enraged with one another and prevent them from reaching a constructive conflict resolution by being on the defensive or arguing points that will not matter in the long run. On a scale of one to 10, ask each party to rate the importance of each issue.

Help the employee with the lower priority to accept the point if something is a two to one employee but an eight to the other employee. In this manner, the worker with the higher priority will be more eager to alter a good or service that is more crucial to the worker with the lower priority.

7. Offer multiple solutions

When possible, give people a choice between several solutions. People will perceive your efforts to assist them more when they have more than one option that is good. They will also feel more empowered. As an illustration, if a manager in your office feels that a team member did not support them during a project, you can respond as follows:

“I’m sorry you felt Sarah was unsupportive of your project objectives. Maybe Sarah could report to you weekly or check in with you more frequently to ask about your objectives. ”.

8. Be creative and confident

Remember that all issues are negotiable. Brainstorm, come up with creative resolutions and consider all alternatives. The best solutions are those that encourage everyone to be more productive by making them feel heard and respected.

Try posing open-ended questions to your staff to encourage them to consider possible compromises, solutions, and objectives. Pay close attention to their responses and then think of ways you can put these concepts into practice.

9. Avoid confrontation

By settling disagreements before they become urgent, you can prevent workplace conflicts. Additionally, avoid having separate meetings with the two employees who are in conflict. You might come across as favoring one person over another. To discuss all issues and fully understand how the other party feels, all parties involved in a conflict should get together.

The ability to mediate disputes is a crucial one for managers and business owners. You can use it to keep your company running smoothly, increase employee productivity by getting rid of distractions, and maintain a happy workforce. Mediation of disputes can even encourage people to unwind, trust one another, and function well as a team.


What are the 4 ways to resolve conflicts?

Here are some steps to address how to mediate conflict in your workplace:
  1. Come together. Each side should briefly explain their position without interruption or criticism.
  2. Take action. …
  3. Take ownership. …
  4. Decide what to change. …
  5. Commit to change. …
  6. Stay neutral. …
  7. Build trust.

What are 5 conflict resolution strategies?

4 steps To resolve Conflict: CARE
  • Communicate. Open communication is key in a dispute. …
  • Actively Listen. Without interrupting, hear what the other person has to say.
  • Review Options. Talk over the options, looking for solutions that benefit everyone.
  • End with a Win-Win Solution.

How can a manager manage mediate conflict?

The Top 5 Conflict Resolution Strategies
  • Don’t Ignore Conflict. …
  • Clarify What the Issue Is. …
  • Bring Involved Parties Together to Talk. …
  • Identify a Solution. …
  • Continue to Monitor and Follow Up on the Conflict.

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