How to Address a Conflict With a Coworker Professionally

Master the art of professional communication in business settings with expert guidance. Learn how to address a conflict with a coworker professionally.

Lark Editorial TeamLark Editorial Team | 2023/12/28
Try Lark for Free
an image for how to address a conflict with a coworker professionally

In every professional setting, conflicts are bound to arise. Understanding how to address a conflict with a coworker professionally is crucial for maintaining a harmonious workplace environment. This guide aims to provide comprehensive insights into the significance of effective conflict management, practical examples, step-by-step instructions, and valuable do’s and dont’s for handling such situations with finesse.

Understanding the importance of addressing conflict professionally

Why Conflict Arises in the Workplace

Workplace conflicts can stem from various sources, such as differences in opinion, work-style disparities, or misunderstandings regarding responsibilities. Moreover, competition for resources or recognition can also fuel disagreements.

Impact of Unresolved Conflict on Workplace Dynamics

When left unattended, conflicts can escalate, leading to increased tension, decreased productivity, and strained relationships within the team. Unresolved conflicts often fester and can create a toxic work environment.

Professional Growth through Conflict Resolution

Addressing conflicts professionally not only diffuses immediate tensions but also fosters professional growth. Effective conflict resolution hones interpersonal skills, promotes empathy, and enhances problem-solving abilities.

Use Lark Messenger to elevate your team communication.

Try for free

Practical examples of dealing with how to address conflict professionally

Example 1: miscommunication with a team member

  • Scenario Description: A project deadline was missed due to miscommunication regarding task responsibilities with a team member.

  • Common Mistakes Handling the Scenario: Ignoring the issue, engaging in a blame game, or confronting the colleague in a hostile manner.

  • Best Practice Expression: "I understand there was a misunderstanding. Let's discuss how we can avoid such miscommunication in the future."

Example 2: differing work styles with a colleague

  • Scenario Description: Conflicting work styles resulted in discrepancies in project approach and execution.

  • Common Mistakes Handling the Scenario: Disregarding the diverse perspectives, imposing one’s approach, or engaging in passive-aggressive behavior.

  • Best Practice Expression: "I recognize our different approaches. Let's collaborate to blend our strengths for an effective outcome."

Example 3: misaligned goals with a teammate

  • Scenario Description: Misaligned individual objectives within the team caused conflict regarding project priorities.

  • Common Mistakes Handling the Scenario: Disregarding the teammate’s aspirations, lobbying for personal goals, or dismissing the concerns outright.

  • Best Practice Expression: "I value your perspective. Let's align our goals to ensure collective success."

Consequences of mishandling professional conflict

Negative Impact on Team Cohesion

Unaddressed conflicts breed resentment, causing a rift within the team and disrupting the collective harmony that is essential for optimal productivity.

Reduced Work Productivity

Ongoing conflicts lead to distractions, stress, and decreased morale, ultimately impeding the team's ability to deliver quality output within set deadlines.

Personal Stress and Burnout

Individuals involved in unresolved conflicts experience heightened stress levels, hindering their focus, productivity, and overall well-being.

Step-by-step instructions for addressing conflict professionally

Acknowledge the presence of the conflict and its impact on team dynamics or individual well-being. Denying or avoiding conflicts can exacerbate the situation.

Initiate a dialogue with the involved party, creating a safe and neutral space to express concerns, share perspectives, and seek resolutions jointly.

Identify mutual objectives or areas of agreement to establish a foundation for collaboration and reinforce a shared goal for a harmonious work environment.

Conclude the dialogue by formulating a plan of action that includes agreed-upon steps, responsibilities, and measurable outcomes to address the conflict positively.

Use Lark Messenger to elevate your team communication.

Try for free

Methods of cultivating professional conflict resolution

Active Listening Techniques

Engage in active listening, ensuring that the perspectives and concerns of all parties involved are comprehensively understood and valued.

Assertive Communication Strategies

Practice assertive communication, expressing viewpoints clearly and directly while respecting the opinions of others and maintaining professionalism.

Collaborative Problem-Solving Approaches

Encourage a collaborative approach to problem-solving, fostering an environment where solutions are formulated jointly, taking into account diverse insights.

Do's and don'ts when addressing conflict professionally


  • Empathize and Validate Emotions
  • Focus on Objective Solutions
  • Foster Respectful Communication


  • Avoid Defensive Reactions
  • Refrain from Personal Attacks
  • Steer Clear of Gossip or Backbiting
Empathize and Validate EmotionsAvoid Defensive Reactions
Focus on Objective SolutionsRefrain from Personal Attacks
Foster Respectful CommunicationSteer Clear of Gossip or Backbiting


In summary, addressing conflicts professionally is not only essential for amicable workplace dynamics but also integral to personal and professional growth. By employing effective conflict resolution strategies, individuals can foster empathy, strengthen relationships, and optimize productivity within the professional sphere.


If denial is encountered, it's important to remain calm and persistent. Highlight specific instances and their impact, and propose open dialogue to address the concerns constructively.

In such cases, consider seeking the mediation of a trusted supervisor or HR representative to facilitate a neutral and supportive environment for resolution.

To prevent escalation, establish ground rules for communication, maintain confidentiality, and foster an environment of mutual respect and active participation in the resolution process.

It can be beneficial, especially in cases where conflicts persist, significantly impact work outcomes, or involve complex power dynamics that need external intervention to find balanced resolutions.

Post-resolution, focus on rebuilding trust by maintaining transparency, fulfilling commitments, and striving to collaborate positively in future endeavors.

By embracing the methodologies and best practices outlined in this guide, individuals can navigate and resolve conflicts professionally, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more productive workplace environment.

Lark, bringing it all together

All your team need is Lark

Contact Sales