How to Resolve Manager & Employee Conflicts

Management and employees should resolve conflict professionally and respectfully.

Management and employees should resolve conflict professionally and respectfully.

Conflict in the workplace can spell bad news for employees and management if it's not addressed. When attempting to remedy spats between management and employees, understand that this is a fairly normal occurrence. Conflict happens from time to time, and it is important to let both sides air their grievances before working towards a solution.

Identify the root of the conflict. Ask both the manager and employee open-ended, non-confrontational questions that get to the core of their disagreement. Consider both the positive and negative aspects that each party is contributing to the conflict.

Make a list of action items that will solve the problem, using input from both the manager and employee concerning their needs. Make it clear to both parties that there is no “winner” and “loser” in this process, and that the goal is to come to a mutually agreeable resolution.

Obtain verbal and/or written agreement from the manager and employee indicating that they agree to the stated plan of resolution. According to UC Berkeley’s Department of Human Resources, if one of the parties is completely silent during the process, this may be a sign of passive resistance.

Plan a follow-up meeting in at least two weeks to ensure that both parties are sticking to the plan.

Contract an outside facilitator if the conflict continues. A professional mediator or ombudsman will objectively hear both sides and address the conflict fairly.


  • If a mediator or ombudsman is not an option for your company, engage an employee from a different department with no ties to the employee and manager in question.

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About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Pamela Henman has been writing marketing- and advertising-related articles since 2006. Previously, she covered arts and entertainment news for "AUC Magazine," "The Signal" and "The Urbanite." She received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Georgia State University.

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