A conflict or disagreement is not necessarily something negative, but needs to be handled in the right way to avoid escalation.

Colleague
If you experience conflict with a colleague it is important to insist on talking to one another as adults. Typically, where conflicts can escalate is when one party has spoken to the other in a de-rogatory manner. A conflict is on the way to escalating when you hear phrases such as "you always do" or "you never do", that is, when the opponent's behaviour is generalised.

If emotions have risen sharply, it may be necessary to have a time-out until you can dis-cuss things calmly and try to discover the background reasons for why the matter is per-ceived so differently by the parties.

If you are involved in a conflict with someone, the best solution is usually where you both can emerge as winners without losing face. Think of yourself as a diplomat who needs to get an agreement in place that benefits all parties.

As manager
As a manager or boss you are a role model and know your employees' functions and responsibilities. You can reduce the level of conflict if you maintain your own way of communicating with employees.

As a rule, conflicts arise if there is disagreement either about the way of working together or if there is disagreement about resources. Disagreements about values, privileges or personal matters can also create a breeding ground for conflicts.

As a leader your task is to demonstrate how conflicts can be resolved, what counts as acceptable behaviour and what is unacceptable and needs to be sanctioned.

Perhaps you should also assist the two parties to a conflict in finding a solution or simply decide what the solution will be.

Read more
Read more about bullying at the workplace.