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How to deal with conflict at work (with colleagues)

Dealing with conflict at work isn’t always easy, but it’s totally necessary! Here’s how to do it right…

How to deal with conflict at work (with colleagues)

Conflicts happen all the time between colleagues. That’s why conflict is often asked about as an interview question. We all come from different backgrounds. We all communicate in different ways. And we all have our own ideas. So it’s only natural that we bump heads from time to time. That’s why you should always be prepared to handle a conflict at work. If you don’t learn how to deal with conflict professionally, it could hold back your career.

So use our top tips for resolving conflict with a colleague

  • Act quickly
  • Don’t tell anyone
  • Be open-minded
  • Listen
  • Talk rationally and calmly
  • Show empathy
  • Agree a two-way resolution
  • Know when to escalate

How to resolve a conflict with a colleague

Act quickly

Conflicts don’t magically disappear in time…even if you wish that were the case. Usually delays can make them worse. So you have to face the conflict as soon as possible to find a resolution. The longer you leave it, the worse it could get. So don’t delay!

Don’t tell anyone

When you’ve got a problem with a colleague, it can’t be tempting to confide in someone else. But that’s how rumours and gossip start. But it’s best to address the person involved first. Not to mention it’s the respectful thing to do. 

Be open-minded

Try to enter the conversation open-mindedly. Don’t assume the conversation is going to be bad. And definitely don’t go in there with a defensive attitude. Be open to listening to the other person’s perspective. It’s not just about getting your own opinions across.


Always give the other person their turn to talk. And don’t interrupt them. Even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying, it’s only fair to give them their chance to talk. They’ll feel heard and you’ll have a better chance of finding a resolution.

Talk rationally and calmly

You want to do everything you can to avoid tempers rising. And your tone of voice can work wonders when dealing with conflict. By talking calmly, you’ll help keep your colleague calm too. 

Show empathy

Always be empathetic to the other person. Show them you’re there to understand their point of view and that you’re not just there to point the finger. This will help your colleague to open up and show empathy back to you.

Agree a two-way resolution

When finding a resolution, remember it should be a two-way street. It’s not just about what you want to see from your colleague. But what your colleague wants to see from you. So be prepared to make some changes with the way you work too!

Know when to escalate

Sometimes conflicts can’t be resolved on your own. And that’s okay. It’s important to know when you need a third-party to step in. This will usually be a manager who can mediate the situation. If tempers start to rise, call on your manager for help!

Patch it up

Never stew on a conflict with a colleague. It will only cause you more problems. Although these conversations can be uncomfortable, they’re totally necessary. And what’s more, you’ll actually grow from the experience. Knowing how to deal with conflict is an amazing soft skill to add to your CV. So always face your workplace conflicts head on.

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