On this page

Protect Your Business

Request a Consultation with One of Our Advisers Today!

5 Tips to de-Escalate Workplace Conflict

Published March 12, 2018 (last updated July 15, 2022) -

Tips To De-Escalating Workplace Conflict

At some point in your workplace, you as an employer will need to tackle conflict head-on. Whether the conflict is present between employees or yourself and an employee, understanding how best to de-escalate and solve the issue is key.

Types of conflict:

Interpersonal – Can be due to almost anything from work environment or personal matters to a stolen snack from the staff fridge.

Leadership – can be caused by friction or a clash of ideals in the day-to-day management of the workplace.

Interdependence – often a result of one person’s job or duties hinging on the completion of another’s.

When conflict occurs it:

  • has a negative impact on performance
  • wastes management’s time
  • costs money (lost working days)

5 Tips Employers Can Follow to de-Escalate Conflict

1. Listen to all points of view and find the facts

Speak to each person involved independently and privately. Use these meetings to understand concerns and the underlying reason for the conflict.

2. Work with the employee to solve the problem

Invite the employee to share their thoughts on how the conflict should be resolved. More often than not, they will have a solution in mind that they would be happy to implement.

3. Is the conflict bullying or harassment?

Whilst most workplace conflicts are a result of misunderstanding or personality clashes, some conflicts may be far more serious. Everyone has a right to not be bullied or harassed at work, and there are anti-bullying laws which prohibit this.

4. Work to build a united team

Team building days or activities can promote a feeling of unity within your team, and bring your staff members together. This will give your staff the opportunity to learn more about each other’s personalities

5. Find a way forward, not establishing fault

Making character attacks is one of the quickest ways to destroy any relationship. Resolve conflict with practical steps forward rather than escalating it and making it worse

For small businesses without HR departments, mediation may prove an effective solution for an ugly dispute. The process involves an independent mediator helping two or more parties come to a mutual understanding as to how they can work better in the future. However, it’s always better to prevent conflicts from escalating to this point in the first place, and you can do this by ensuring you have appropriate policies and procedures in place, and the right advice to deal with a problem when it first arises. Contact Employsure on 0800 568 012 to find out more.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

Get Workplace Advice Now

Call Our Team of Expert Advisers Who Will Help You with Your Workplace Questions

Have a question?

Have a question that hasn’t been answered? Fill in the form below and one of our experts will contact you back.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call Now

0800 568 012

Live Chat

Click here