Violence at Work (UK)

Managing a Conflict

Managing a conflict may be regarded as a FOUR STAGE PROCESS which continually reverts to Stage One in the event of a deterioration in the behaviour of the subject.


Stage One : Prevent Escalation

  • From a safe distance - gain the personís attention

  • Ignore, distract or divert verbal abuse

  • Move slowly, give the person space

  • Don't corner them / block their exit

  • Don't stand in front of them, stand off to one side

  • Introduce yourself and explain the reason for your presence

  • Face towards them

  • Talk softly and calmly in simple and clear terms; if appropriate invite an explanation

  • Avoid criticising the personís reasoning or behaviour

  • Listen patiently and attentively without interrupting


Stage Two : Acquire facts

  • Acknowledge the persons emotions (but donít try to deal with the cause of the personís anger or emotional state)

  • Acknowledge failings where they exist, especially if they are the cause of the tension

  • Use appropriate praise for positive behaviour


Stage Three : Confirm understanding

  • Demonstrate that you understand the circumstances by intermittently paraphrasing what the person has said

  • Invite confirmation that your understanding is correct

  • Avoid workplace jargon, explain in simple terms what you are able to do

  • If the situation merits referral to a supervisor do it


Stage Four : Suggest solutions and resolve

  • If possible, try to break complex issues into small components

  • If the problem or any part of it can be remedied quickly do it

  • Encourage reasoning

  • Decide on a suitable procedure to solve the remaining difficulties

  • Be realistic, fair and honest

  • Advise in an assertive manner what action you intend to take. Your explanation should always be polite, calm, clear and firm


To learn more about managing and resolving conflict: Click Here