How to deal with conflict

content stags Conflict

It is important to remember to control your emotions – by maintaining your composure, you are likely to earn the respect of your peer. 

Negotiating a way out of conflict is often about who is the best at asking questions, listening and taking notes. 

By posing pertinent questions and attempting to get to the heart of the matter, you can try to establish what their bottom line is. 

After understanding the main points of the opposing person’s arguments you can start to address the issues and move forward. 


Sinead Bryne, senior consultant at Morgan McKinley: says: ‘Many conflicts take place due to a lack of communication and understanding

‘Misunderstandings are now more common due to the myriad of ways we have to communicate. If a conflict situation arises, take some time out to breathe and reflect on the situation before trying to resolve it. 

‘Resolutions rarely happen when one or both parties are emotionally charged. When you feel ready, arrange a time to meet or talk to the person.  

‘Active listening is crucial in resolving conflict. If a situation is to be resolved, really listening to what the other person says and understanding how they feel is key. You may not agree with their point of view, and that is not necessary, but attempting to understand their feelings on the matter is the first step to resolution.

Search hundreds of roles from all over the world on ACCA Careers

Sign up for a job alert tailored to your desired location and role

‘Although it is common for individuals to act in an emotional and subjective way in their personal lives, you should always strive to be as objective as possible in the workplace. Attempt to focus on a coworker’s behaviour, as opposed to concentrating on aspects of their personality.’


There are a wide range of negotiation techniques you can adopt, based on the personality of your conflicted peer. 

Analysing and developing an understanding of their personality prior to conducting negotiations can help reach a positive outcome. Likewise, presenting hard facts backed by data and evidence tend to be the best solution. 

Remember that it is rare for a party to feel as though they are the absolute winner in a negotiation. Most likely, one party or both will feel they have compromised more than the other. 

If the matter cannot be resolved in a low-level fashion, it will likely be necessary to involve line managers to mediate. 

Once a constructive conversation has taken place between individuals with line managers present and a resolution reached, it is important for line managers to continue to monitor the conflict to make sure it has not re-occurred.

Author: Alex Miller

More information

This article was first published in Student Accountant in May 2023Get the SA app now

Back to listing