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  • Writer's pictureMarty Jalove

Resolving Workplace Conflicts: Essential Skills for Young Managers

Conflict in the workplace is as certain as the sun rising each morning, particularly with the varied personalities and dynamics that exist within any team. How it's approached and navigated can either fortify the team's unity or splinter it into irreparable pieces. Young managers often find themselves at a professional crossroads when confronting these interpersonal challenges. They are caught between proving themselves and maintaining positive team dynamics, and it's a crucial stage in their career where learning effective conflict resolution skills can significantly shape their success.


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Master Happiness and his boys, Nate and Luke!
Master Happiness and his boys, Nate and Luke!

Here, we'll explore not only the vital art of conflict resolution for young managers but also how it intertwines with the core values and culture of the company, presenting a 5-step framework for constructive conflict resolution and discussing the profound impact active listening and empathy can have on managing conflicts effectively.

The Necessity of Conflict Resolution Skills

"Conflict is the first foundation stone," says Simon Sinek, and he couldn’t be more accurate. When handled well, conflicts can lead to richer discussions and a more robust team. However, it often requires the steady hand of a manager versed in the art of resolution to guide the team through these turbulent waters to the calm on the other side.

For young managers, being a conflict resolver isn't just a handy trait; it's an indispensable skill. Here are a few reasons why:

Team-wide Motivation and Productivity: Chronic unresolved conflicts can lead to demotivated teams, high turnover rates, and even diminishing productivity. Conversely, when conflicts are resolved effectively, they can lead to a well-motivated team that is more innovative and outperforms.

Leadership Perception: Effective resolution enhances the perception of a manager as a leader. It engages their team members and shows higher-ups that they are capable of handling difficult situations with maturity and wisdom.

Personal and Professional Growth: Learning to handle conflicts matures a manager's personal framework and provides valuable leadership lessons that can be applied in a myriad of professional situations.

Master Happiness and his boys, Nate and Luke!
Master Happiness and his boys, Nate and Luke!

Aligning Conflict Resolution with Company Culture

Every company has a unique culture, shaped by its core values, history, and leadership. The first rule of effective conflict resolution is understanding and aligning it with this culture. If your company ethos values collaboration, then resolving conflicts in a manner that reinforces this is key.

Here's how:

Understanding Company Values: Managers must familiarize themselves with the company's values and use them as a compass in resolving disputes. This not only grounds the resolution process but also ensures that the resolution reinforces the company's identity and purpose.

Cultural Norms: Different cultures have various approaches to conflict. In a multicultural workplace, it's imperative to be cognizant of these norms and to be adaptable in your approach to ensure that a resolution aligns with all team member’s values and expectations.

The BACON Plan for Young Manager's Conflict Resolution

One effective way to learn and apply conflict resolution skills is to adopt a structured approach that is easy to remember. We’ve developed the BACON plan – a not-so-greasy recipe for smooth and constructive resolution of workplace disputes.

B - Breathe and Step BackThe first step in any conflict resolution is to breathe. Encourage yourself and those involved to take a step back and calm down. This prevents heated discussions that can lead to further issues.

Practice Exercise: The Five-Minute Walk: When faced with a conflict, take a set amount of time to walk around – five minutes, usually does the trick. Invite others to join if it's a group issue. This practice gives everyone time to collect their thoughts and emotions, essential for logical and respectful communication.

A - Acknowledge and Accept the IssueConflict is often emotional and personal. Acknowledge the issue's impact and accept it as a valid concern, never to be dismissed.

Practice Exercise: The Balanced Scorecard: Like in a board game, give each person a balanced scorecard to articulate their point of view without interruption. When everyone is heard equally, the collective understanding of the issue is more comprehensive.

C - Create a Safe Space for DialogueEngage the parties involved in a constructive dialogue, ensuring that each person feels heard and understood.

Practice Exercise: Constructive 'I' Statements: Use 'I' statements to express positions and concerns without pointing fingers. "I feel" statements are less accusatory and help frame the conversation in terms of the speaker's experiences and emotions.

O - Offer Solutions and ValidatePropose or elicit potential solutions while validating the concerns and perspectives of all parties involved.

Practice Exercise: Pros and Cons List: Elicit potential solutions from all parties and create a pros and cons list for each. This visual representation can make decision-making less fraught and more objective.

N - Negotiate and Communicate a ResolutionFinally, negotiate the best resolution and communicate it effectively to all individuals and the team as a whole.

Practice Exercise: Role Reversal: Encourage parties to consider the conflict from the other's perspective. It can be a profound realization and a potent tool for achieving a fair and satisfactory resolution for all involved.

The Power of Active Listening and Empathy

Conflict resolution isn't just about talking; it's about listening and understanding. Active listening and empathy can transform how conflicts are resolved, making the process more human and the outcomes more sustainable.

Here are some ways to harness their power:

Active Listening: Active listening requires full attention to the speaker, interpretation of the message, and response that indicates understanding. It creates an environment where every voice is heard and valued.

Empathy: Empathy is stepping into another's shoes to understand and share their feelings. When parties in conflict practice empathy, they can find common ground and often discover that the desired outcome is not so divergent after all.

Open Conversations with Empathy

Encourage open conversations where empathy and active listening are the norms. Establishing these dialogues in the workplace as a part of the conflict resolution process can lead to deeper understanding and smoother operations.

Why Open Conversations Are the Future of Conflict Resolution: The workplace is evolving, and with it, the way we approach conflicts must evolve as well. Young managers have the unique opportunity to lead this change by fostering open conversation environments.

Practical Steps for Implementing Open Conversations: Provide training on active listening, conduct workshops on empathy, and continually reinforce the value of open conversations. It's only through practice and persistence that these skills become ingrained in the workplace culture.

Resolving Workplace Conflicts: Essential Skills for Young Managers

For young managers, mastering conflict resolution is an investment that pays off with engaged teams, enhanced leadership perception, and a robust foundation for personal and professional growth. By following a structured process like the B.A.C.O.N. plan and embedding the principles of active listening and empathy, you're setting the stage for not just resolving conflicts, but also for creating a workplace where conflicts are opportunities for growth and innovation.

If you're a young manager facing disputes and disagreements, remember this: it's not about who's right, but what's right for the team and the organization. Use these opportunities to refine your managerial style, strengthen your team, and underline your value as a leader who can guide others through the tumult of conflict to the tranquility of resolution. Your team's cohesion and success depend on it.


To learn more about Resolving Workplace Conflicts: Essential Skills for Young Managers go to: or “Bacon Bits with Master Happiness” on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon Music, Audible, iHeart Radio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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Marty Jalove of Master Happiness is a Company Coach, Business Consultant, and Marketing Strategist that helps small businesses, teams, and individuals find focus, feel fulfilled, and have fun. Master Happiness stresses the importance of realistic goal setting, empowerment, and accountability in order to encourage employee engagement and retention. The winning concentration is simple: Happy Employees attract Happy Customers and Happy Customers come back with Friends.

Want to learn more about bringing more happiness into your workplace and life? Contact Master Happiness at or


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