How To: Handle Conflict At Work

Here is a simple style guide for situations where there is disagreement.


1. De-emotionalise communication.

Use emotion in negotiation situations only when you choose to deliberately.

Emotion is reflected in body language, voice (speed, volume, tone, intonation) and choice of words.

Try to rise above the issue. This is seen as more professional and managerial.


2. Depersonalise communication : Be hard on the problem not on the person.

Avoid personalised language:


You don’t understand the situation  and that is why you don’t agree.”

with this version….

“This is a tough situation and I think we should think about that complexity before deciding finally.”

3.Use less absolute, definite language. Be aware of the effect of strong language and use if only if you choose deliberately to do so.

e,g dead end, red line, loosing situation,

e.g  Instead of  “You are forcing me to reach a dead end.”

You could say, “Taking that approach leaves me little room for options.”

4. Give commentary on the situation that describes the process you see as taking place:

e.g. I understand why you are asking me to come , but there is someone in the marketing team who could help you better in this case .

Adding understanding in this way makes searching for solutions an easier task.

5. Don’t just focus on the short term problem.

See the particular matter under discussion within the context of other negotiations and management interaction over a longer period.

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