Best Practices for Dealing with 2 Employees Fighting Without it Impacting the Workplace

Best Practices for Dealing with 2 Employees Fighting Without it Impacting the Workplace

When two employees are fighting, it can be tempting to make assumptions about the cause of conflict, mainly if you buy into gossip and rumors. The first thing to do is rule out discrimination or harassment. These issues are more common than is often assumed: a 2024 report by Gitnux shows 44% of employees have been harassed at work. More than half of all employees have not felt psychologically safe at work, and according to 37% of harassed women, harassment affected their careers adversely. Unresolved issues led 34% to quit. If you aren’t familiar with the company’s relevant prevention policies and guidelines, familiarize yourself as soon as possible.

Establish the problem 

Proceed to find out what the problem is. As a manager, you want your team to be self-sufficient. Reacting to each workplace conflict can exacerbate the drama and make things worse. One of the employees fighting might even think you’re taking the other one’s side. Look for concrete solutions to specific problems, like a weekly schedule template for a scheduling issue. While you don’t want to intervene excessively, you must do something, especially if your employees tend to avoid confrontation. 36% of employees ignore conflict to avoid confrontation, letting their dissatisfaction simmer. Eventually, it comes back in new and worse ways.

Provide talking points or guidance to help your workers approach each other positively. Facilitate the talks, but don’t set the expectation that you’ll resolve the issue. That’s up to the two of them.

Conflict resolution skills are critical 

The latest statistics on conflict in the workplace show that 88% of employees consider conflict resolution skills to be of critical importance for leaders. Workplace conflict is quite common: 85% of employees at all levels experience it. 75% find people don’t discuss conflict openly because they fear retribution. Productivity losses due to conflicts between employees cost companies $359 billion each year. According to 54% of employees, the most prevalent conflicts are interdepartmental ones. Poor communication causes 49% of workplace conflicts, and 34% arise from egos and personality clashes. For 29% of employees, conflicts are enough to make them quit their jobs.

Listen to both sides

On the plus side, 56% of supervisors believe that conflicts can stimulate innovation and higher creativity. If you are among them, focus on the two directly involved individuals and ignore other employees. Ask each person to share their side of the story – people want to be heard and understood. Assess the degree of hostility between them – it might be best to meet with the employees fighting separately. When you meet, discuss facts, not emotions.

Find a solution

If you decide to meet with both of them at once, give each one a chance to present their side of the story without being interrupted. Then, ask each to propose a resolution in order to move forward. Don’t expect them to become best friends; all you want is for the conflict to stop interfering with work. In some cases, you can improve employee focus by reorganizing teams. Giving them time to cool off before they start working together again can help.

Getting your team members to agree on something can help resolve a complex conflict. Sometimes, people have the same goal; they just don’t realize it.

Many conflicts start when one employee believes their feelings are being ignored. Supervisors should be aware of the emotional component of workplace conflict. Employees should be able to express their feelings constructively.

When you’ve found a possible solution, make sure both employees agree on the course of action. If either of them is suspiciously quiet, it could signal future problems.


  • Rule out harassment or discrimination
  • Provide talking points and facilitate the discussion
  • Look for concrete solutions to specific problems
  • Focus on the individuals who are directly involved
  • Each employee tells their side of the story
  • Both should agree on the future course of action

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