Conflict is a common phenomenon when people from different backgrounds come together at
the workplace to work for a common goal. When it occurs, workplace conflicts have a
tendency to lower employee morale, reduce productivity and trigger employee absenteeism
Leading corporate trainer, Gaston Dsouza, who loves compering too, observes that
Managers and supervisors spend a substantial portion of their time resolving such conflicts
which eat into valuable productive time. The following practical strategies can be used to
manage conflict in the workplace in a quick and efficient manner:
1. Speak to the concerned individuals: This is always the first step. Ask the other
person to pick a convenient time to meet and discuss this issue. Try to meet at a
place where you are less likely to be interrupted.
2. Focus of behaviour: Never generalize. Always speak about specific instances or
events during such a discussion. Use statements like “ When this happens” instead
of “When you do this….”. It is always a good idea to focus on behaviour instead of
3. Listen Carefully: Try to focus on what the other person is saying instead of reacting
to it. As far as possible avoid interrupting him and if you do this, make sure it is to
clarify your understanding. Rephrase what was said to make sure you have
understood it right.
4. Identify points of contention: It is mandatory to identify and then summarize areas
of agreement and disagreement. Make sure the concerned individuals agree with this
assessment. If required tweak this assessment till you both agree on the areas of
5. Prioritize conflict areas: At the start of the discussion, decide which points are
a priority for both parties and tackle them first. Accordingly, develop a plan to work on
each conflict. Begin with the most important conflict and then work your way down if
there are many. Work with an eye on the future and plan meetings on a regular basis
to ensure the areas of conflict are worked upon on a regular basis.
6. Follow up on your plan: Once a plan is formulated, make sure it is followed up well.
Follow the discussions until every conflict area has been successfully addressed.
Always maintain a collaborative attitude to make everyone concerned feel included
and interested. This attitude shows that you are equally keen to achieve a solution.
7. Build on success: Make sure you readily compliment the other person on his or her
success and look out for such opportunities. Encourage friendly discussions
As a pathbreaking behavioural specialist and emcee in Mumbai, Gaston relies on these tips
to manage a conflict situation at the workplace. Use these time-tested methods to ensure top
productivity and a congenial atmosphere at work, success won’t be too far away then.