Keys to conflict management in the workplace

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Laura Lillo Pulido

Laura Lillo Pulido

Forensic health psychologist

What can I find in this article...?

“I don’t agree with how they are doing things here.”

“The management of the bosses is awful, they don’t take our needs into account.”

“I have not been granted what I asked for”.

“I no longer have a life beyond work”.

“That colleague gave me a bad answer”.

“I made a mistake, I don’t know who I should talk to.”

Do you feel identified with any of these statements? Have you been involved in these situations? Do you think you have the necessary tools to answer? Do you think it is simple? Are we prepared for this type of conflicts at work? Maybe it has not happened to you because you have avoided it, maybe it has happened to you but you have not been able to react or perhaps the reaction you had was not the right one. In today’s article, from Wemby, we want to give you some keys to conflict management at work. 

In addition, Hubspot explains that conflict can have terrible consequences for companies: from a decrease in productivity or disconnection with business values to a high turnover rate.

Tailor-made programs for different conflicts

Why do conflicts often occur in the workplace? In this article they explain the most common reasons: shortage of resources, different perceptions or objectives, poor task distribution, poor communication, conflicting personal values or work pressure. 

Empathy, assertiveness and boundaries

The concept of assertiveness refers to our ability to communicate our feelings and needs, taking into account empathy. That is, it is about exposing our point of view bearing in mind the point of view of others.

Okay… And now that I know a little more about assertiveness… What is it good for? As we mentioned in our article 5 Tips for Constructive Communication in the work environment, the benefits of assertive communication include: handling conflicts quickly and effectively, handling negotiation situations with skill, favoring decision making, consciously and clearly expressing our opinions and desires, and even improving teamwork.

Empathy is also key to constructive and assertive communication. Try to understand the position of others and express yours in the right way. Express your personal opinions from messages formulated in the first person, proposing solutions if you disagree with something. For example:

  • “I appreciate your proposal, but I would need this other thing.”
  • “Can you think of how we could do this from this other point of view?”
  • “I value the time you’ve invested in this, however I was also thinking about…what do you think?”

Three techniques for managing conflict

However, sometimes assertiveness and setting boundaries may not be enough. At EAE Business School they recommend some specific techniques with third parties to manage different types of labor conflicts: 

  1. Arbitration: proper for those more or less serious conflicts in which an agreement would not be reached without the help of a third person. This moderator, if possible someone from the company’s human resources, should listen to both parties involved in the problem and propose a solution.
  2. Facilitation: This method is used to resolve conflicts whose severity is considered low or medium. As in the arbitration technique, a third person is required who is neutral and supports the parties in conflict. An attempt is made to establish a discussion in which both parties are satisfied.
  3. Mediation: this is the most commonly used resource in conflicts that are not progressing in any direction, the most serious conflicts. It is usually used after other options have been tried. On this occasion, the mediator is usually an outsider to the issue and to the company, and his or her role is to create a climate conducive to understanding between the two parties.

What do our experts at Wemby recommend?

As they explain from Becas Santander, practice is essential to apply these techniques. Learning strategies to know how to react to conflicts and putting them into practice is the key to being able to deal with conflictive situations.

If you would like your team to work on assertiveness and the management of different challenges or conflicts, it is time for a professional psychologist like our experts at Wemby to help you.

Asking for help at the right time is as important a strategy as any other. If you want your organization to count on our team, write to us at and we will be happy to provide the support you need. 

About the Author

Hi! I’m Laura Lillo, a forensic and clinical psychologist. I  strongly believe that psychology services should be accessible to all.  I’ve worked in prisons and with kids with risks of social exclusion. This has taught me the importance of constant learning and improvement as a person and as a therapist.

If I’m not cooking, drawing or singing, the most likely scenario is that I’m playing board games. Right now, I’m busy learning and writing content for Wemby, an online psychology platform. During my weekends I’m Game Master in Exit Madrid, a escape rooms company.

Wemby provides online therapy and wellbeing services delivered by experienced psychologists. Our team is here to help you start building your balance and emotional wellbeing today.

Download the app, complete a matching questionnaire and get paired with a therapist with the best licensed professional to match your needs.

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