Human Resources

How can I resolve this conflict?

Resolving Workplace Conflict Using Dispute Resolution

Addressing Conflict
There are a number of ways that can be utilized to address workplace conflict:

  • Avoidance: ‘hiding our head in the sand’, hoping the conflict will go away.
  • Collaboration: working together to find a mutually beneficial solution.
  • Compromise: finding the middle ground whereby a ‘little is given and little is gotten’.
  • Competing: ‘may the best person win’.
  • Accommodation: surrendering our own needs and wishes to please the other person.

It is generally believed that either collaboration or compromise are the most productive forms of addressing conflict because there is not a winner or loser but rather a working together for the best possible solution.

Conflict Resolution
Arriving at a positive resolution of conflict is always the ultimate goal. In resolving conflict, it is important to make sure you do the following:

  • Clearly articulate the causes of the conflict – openly acknowledging there will be differing perceptions of the problem(s).
  • Make a clear statement of why you want the conflict resolved and reasons to work on conflict.
  • Communication of how you want the conflict resolved.
  • Address the issues face-to-face (notes, email correspondence, memos are not a productive way to resolve differences).
  • Stick to the issues. In trying to resolve conflict, it is tempting to resort to name calling or bring up issues from the past. It is important to address specific behaviors and situations if change is to take place.
  • Take time out if necessary. In the resolution of a conflict, our emotions may interfere with arriving at a productive resolution. If this transpires, take a time-out and resume resolving the conflict at another designated time.

Summary
Avoiding conflict is often the easiest way to deal with it. It does not however make it go away but rather pushes it underground, only to have it resurface in a new form. By actively resolving conflict when it occurs, we can create a more positive work environment for everyone.  Faculty and staff should attempt to resolve disputes internally, using the Employment Handbooks or agreements.  Human Resources is available to assist at any step in this process.

Clerical, Office and Technical
Complaint Procedure
(go to Section 3.2.4)
Grievances
(go to Section 6)

Executive, Administrative and Professional Staff
Complaint & Grievances
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Faculty
Grievance Procedure
(go to Section 2.16)
Complaint Procedure
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Maintenance, Grounds and Services
Complaint Procedure
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Grievances
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Public Safety Staff-Officer
Complaint Procedure
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Grievances
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Public Safety Staff-Sargent
Complaint Procedure
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Grievances
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Security Staff
Grievances Policy

Managing Differences and Resolving Conflict in the Workplace

What is workplace conflict?

Communication in the workplace  

Page last modified March 28, 2012