Diagnosing and Resolving Workplace Conflict

Conflict in the workplace is real, and it happens every day. While conflict is not all negative, it can be quite disruptive to productivity and the harmonious atmosphere required for employee engagement. It is therefore critical for leadership to promptly tackle conflict in the workplace and not allow it to fester to such negative levels.

Christian Muntean on Vantage Consulting wrote an insightful article on how to diagnose conflict in the workplace speedily and noted that in many instances, this malady is often misdiagnosed and therefore not properly addressed outside of playing the blame game or trying to address it at a personal level. Proper diagnosis will eliminate such shallow conclusions and get to the real root of the problem. The “Four Opportunities Lens” was offered as a tool to objectively diagnose conflict. This tool is used on the premise that conflicts present growth opportunities and are mainly rooted in personal health and maturity, relationships, organizational systems, and/or organizational culture.

The use of this tool requires that you consider the particular conflict and those involved and check off a list of conditions that seem to apply to the situation in each conflict category: personal, relationships, organizational systems, organizational culture. Ticked boxes would indicate the potential cause or nurturing of the conflict and those ticked conditions should be investigated. If a particular category has many ticked boxes, special attention should be given to this category. Systemic and cultural conflicts are marked by a situation that is either chronic or that involves many people and should be resolved at a leadership level even if they manifest in one of the other categories. Resolving systemic and cultural conflicts usually results in a long-term solution in all categories.

eCornell’s Human Resources Management certificate in Conflict Resolution can help you to maintain harmony within your workplace.

eCornell courses are approved by SkillsFuture Singapore for SkillsFuture Credit as well as by HRDF Malaysia under its SBL Scheme.