University of California, Riverside

Human Resources

Helpful Guidelines

When people work together, conflict is often unavoidable because of differences in work goals and personal styles. These guidelines can assist you in effectively managing conflict in the workplace.

What You Should Do How You Should Do It
  1. Define the specific conflict
  2. Identify desired outcomes
Talk with the other person
  1. Ask the other person to name a time when it would be convenient to meet
  2. Arrange to meet in a place where you won’t be interrupted
Focus on behavior and events, not on personalities
  1. Say “When this happens…” instead of “When you do …”
  2. Describe a specific instance or event instead of generalizing
Listen carefully
  1. Listen to what the other person is saying instead of getting ready to react
  2. Avoid interrupting the other person
  3. After the other person finishes speaking, rephrase what was said to make sure you understand it
  4. Ask questions to clarify your understanding
Identify where you and the other person agree and disagree
  1. Summarize the areas of agreement and disagreement
  2. Ask the other person if he or she agrees with your assessment
  3. Modify your assessment until both of you agree on the areas of conflict
Set priorities Discuss which areas of conflict are most important to each of you to resolve
Develop a plan to work on each conflict, starting with the most important
  1. Focus on the future
  2. Set up future meeting times to continue your discussions
Follow up on your plan
  1. Stick with the discussions until you’ve worked through each area of conflict
  2. Maintain a collaborative, “let’s-work-out-a-solution” attitude
Build on your success
  1. Look for opportunities to point out progress
  2. Recognize the other person’s insights and achievements
  3. Congratulate each other when you make progress, even if it is just a small step

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department Information

Human Resources
1201 University Ave., Suite 208
Riverside, CA 92507

Tel: (951) 827-5588
Fax: (951) 827-2672