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The Ultimate IQ Methodology For Resolving Workplace Conflicts

Written by: Yvette Durazo, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Workplace conflicts are bound to happen from time to time. It’s inescapable! Instead of facing it head-on, many business owners fear and hide human conflicts within their establishments as much as possible. They have forgotten the need for a key leadership skill — conflict resolution. Even in the face of daunting challenges, your ability to handle conflict effectively can greatly impact your business. There's no need to be afraid anymore! Here, we'll cover all you need to know about workplace conflicts and how to handle them. Let’s get started!

What is workplace conflict?

Workplace conflict refers to disputes between coworkers caused by differing interests, personalities, opinions, or views. Disputes at work are inevitable when individuals from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints work together.

Conflict may be exhibited in a variety of ways, such as refusal to cooperate, abusive language, bullying, rage, low-quality or delayed work, missing deadlines, and more.

Workplace conflict isn't anything to be afraid of at your company. On the contrary, it's normal and, in certain cases, beneficial if handled appropriately.

Why you must resolve workplace conflicts

Working in a hostile, passive-aggressive workplace isn't something anyone wants to do at any time. Hence, conflicts that go unsolved can have detrimental effects on employee well-being, productivity, and the company's overall atmosphere.

Despite the fact that workplace conflict is among the most preventable expenses to any company, it is often neglected. An estimated $100 billion is lost each year due to conflict in the global economy.

Below are ways workplace conflict impacts (or will impact) your business if left unchecked:

  • Increased absenteeism Companies incur more expenses as a result of unplanned absences through payment of benefits and the need to hire substitute staff. Absenteeism will increase with heightened stress among workers.

  • Less productivity Whenever there is a workplace conflict, workers devote valuable time to trying to deal with it. They engage in workplace rumor-mongering, playing favorites, and political posturing. This depletes their positive vibes and causes them to lose concentration on the activities at hand, consequently resulting in a decline in productivity.

  • Lawsuit An employee who is unable to resolve a workplace dispute could seek outside legal counsel, which might lead to a pricey defense or an exorbitant settlement for the company. In addition, employers may face considerable financial fines and possibly criminal or civil punishments if an employee wins litigation against them.

  • Low morale Workers' spirits and drive are lowered when they are embroiled in conflict. Workers naturally become stressed out and unable to concentrate on their work if there are unsolved disputes. When confrontations drag on for too long, employees begin to doubt their own abilities and the direction their careers are headed in. Their low spirits are a direct result of this emotional state.

  • Increased turnover In the event that employees are distrustful of management or believe that the company is unfairly treating them, they may leave. As a result, employers may have to spend more money on hiring and training new personnel, as well as paying for lost productivity while new recruits learn the ropes.

Resolving conflicts with the Conflict-IQ™ methodology

Workplace conflicts can be likened to terminal conditions that don't show up right away but can be treated if caught early. Staff, clients, and other stakeholders can be impacted by a conflict that spreads across a company. As a result, companies must implement measures to identify and resolve workplace conflict at the early stage.

Companies will benefit from knowing how to resolve disputes constructively. With the DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiative, it is critical to have leaders that can facilitate uncomfortable conversations since, if not done correctly, it can lead to official complaints or legal implications for the HR or heads of departments.

Transforming conflicts at the workplace involve two major steps:

  • Knowing the causes

  • Resolving the conflict

1. Knowing the causes of workplace conflict

The following are the most common triggers of conflict at work:

  • Heavy workload: Employees may become resentful if they believe their workload is overwhelming, which can lead to workplace conflicts.

  • Personality clashes: A group's "personality mix" can be thrown off if a new employee is brought on board or if two existing members unexpectedly disagree on anything.

  • Unreasonable company goals and demands: Many conflicts at work stem from companies failing to meet their workers' needs or setting unreasonable expectations.

  • Personal issues: Sometimes, it is impossible to resist bringing personal issues to the workplace, even if some bosses advise against doing so. Even if we don't explicitly express our feelings, our motivation and productivity will still be affected. Another consequence is that a spontaneous and seemingly unconnected dispute might erupt.

  • Company values: Your company's practices and policies should reflect what the majority of employees believe to be fair. Offering someone a chance to be heard or justifying a decision are good examples.

2. Resolving the conflicts

Having identified the origins of a workplace dispute, the next step is knowing how to resolve it effectively. Below are priceless tips to help nip workplace conflicts in the bud. Bring both parties or factions together and mediate between them as they go through the conflict resolution steps below:

  • Speak directly: Directly address the individual you're having an issue with, provided there is no risk of violence. Instead of sending a mail, pounding on the wall, tossing a rock, or venting your frustrations to the world, have a face-to-face dialogue.

  • Accept responsibility, but don't insult others: It's impossible for the other party to listen and comprehend your worries after you've enraged him or her. So, start the discussion without assigning blame to others. Simply state your perspective on how something should be done.

  • Provide information: Don't read too much into the other person's actions. Rather, share your own thoughts and emotions. So, instead of saying, “You're deliberately obstructing my driveway to enrage me,” say, “I become furious whenever I’m late to work because your vehicle is always obstructing my driveway.”

  • Listen attentively and let it show: Afford the other individual an opportunity to present his or her side of the story in full. Lay back and try to understand the other person's perspective. Make it clear to him or her that you are listening and appreciate the opportunity to discuss the issue.

  • Cover all bases: As soon as you get going, let everything out in the open. Make sure you cover everything, even if it appears "difficult" to talk about or "insignificant" to mention. All concerns must be properly ironed out for your solutions to be effective.

  • Come up with solutions: Brainstorm for a solution together once all grievances have been covered. Again, cooperative efforts are far more successful than one person ordering another to do something different.

  • Follow through: After agreeing on a new way forward, regularly check with each other to confirm the resolutions are still in full effect and be sure to stick to it!


It's impossible to avoid conflict completely; it's a reality of life.

No two individuals are alike; conflicts develop when our varied motives, actions, and ambitions collide. Nevertheless, there is no need to be afraid of conflict since it could also be a source of growth and development. Dispute resolution can result in greater insights, a deeper understanding of one another, and a more productive working environment.

Organizations and their workers can both benefit from dispute resolution that takes into account the feelings of all parties involved. This inspired me to create what I like to call the Conflict-IQ™ methodology. I firmly believe that learning the Conflict-IQ™ methodology will augment people’s emotional intelligence and help them become better humans.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Yvette Durazo, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Yvette Durazo, MA, ACC is the author of the book Conflict Intelligence Quotient (Conflict IQ™); The Missing Piece to Turbocharge Conscious Leaders’ and Organizations’ Emotional Intelligence. She is the founder and principal consultant at Unitive Consulting, a workplace organizational effectiveness, strategic conflict management, and leadership development firm. Some of her services included, training, mediating conflicts in the workplace, anti-bullying prevention, settlement negotiations, developing dispute system design, and bringing unique strategies to address the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) workplace.

She is passionate about optimizing professionals and teams to engage in constructive problem-solving communication toward instilling respect, civility, and collaboration. She believes that human conflict is one of the most important things organizations must learn to work with and harness to overcome any derailing of employees’ performance and engagement. Her methodologies are like a vitamin that is the breath of life to the immunity of organizations.

Presently, Yvette is an instructor for the Human Resource Management Certification program at the University of California, Santa Clara Extension Silicon Valley. She also is an instructor for the University of California Davis, Conflict Resolution Program and teaches for Portland State University in the Conflict Resolution and Mediation department. She holds a PCC coaching credential from the International Coach Federation, a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution, Negotiation, and Peacebuilding from California State University Dominguez Hills, and an undergraduate degree in International Business from San Diego State University. She is a former Core Adjunct Professor at National University, where she taught courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Communication for over six years, and a former Instructor for the Leon Guanajuato Mexico Institution Power of Justice. Yvette is fully bilingual in Spanish and has expertise in cultural diversity and inclusion.



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