Dealing With Office Fighting

June 11, 2013

There are many causes of office fighting and general conflicts with a team. In this article we provide a few possible solutions depending upon the circumstances. As a manager and leader it always pays to be flexible and if one way doesn’t work try another!

Bring It Out Into The Open

The best managers identify potential conflict situations and tackle it head on. Obviously you will not want to escalate the problem, just bringing it out and talking about it will usually help. By not taking sides and just discussing the issues from both party’s perspective will be enough to find some common ground about what they both want to achieve. Sometimes writing down the issues can take the emotion out of the situation. Be prepared to be neutral.

Increase Awareness Of Each Other

Misunderstandings and communication are a common cause of office fighting. Different personalities will always a different view of how things should work. People with different roles will also have different priorities and how they believe things should be.

Discussing and analysing different personality styles is often a great way to appreciate each other’s way of thinking. Use team meetings or team building sessions to encourage people to share facts about themselves they have not previously revealed in areas such as hobbies etc and backgrounds.

Set A Joint Task

When people have a common goal and they rely upon each other to achieve it tends to make people act professionally and put personal grievances to one side. Look for areas where their combined skills can help achieve the result. Consider making it clear that you will not tolerate any complaints about working together.

Separate Them

If you believe that putting them together will create WWIII then maybe look for ways to keep the parties apart for a while. Sometimes time can make office fighting seem trivial and they may even forget why they fought in the first place!


When there is a true impasse suggest a third party that they both trust to intervene and resolve the conflict. Ask this third party to record the position of each side and what they looking to achieve by having this conflicting behaviour. Also ask them to keep making suggestions for a solutions until everybody can agreed. The third party should be looking to help both sides keep calm and stick to talking about facts not opinion.

Office fighting can often be petty and if it is left alone it may escalate into something bigger. Spotting the signs and dealing with it sooner rather than later will usually prevent it from getting out of control. Consider the options suggestion above and find a way that works for everybody. Good luck!

Many thanks

Moss Westwood

Training Consultant at MTD Training

(Image by David Castillo Dominici at

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