The 5 ‘Cs’ Approach to Conflict Resolution in the Workplace - Tammy Jersey

Talking Trends
4 min readJun 23, 2022

Operating effectively in the workplace requires being able to get along well with others. Obviously, some personality types make this easier than others. Sometimes we have to figure out how to influence others with approaches that take us out of our comfort zones. Rely on two things to help you through this: authenticity and curiosity. With authenticity, you can be a straight shooter and let the resistant colleague know what you’re hoping you can accomplish together; with curiosity, you can get a better understanding of what your colleague is hoping for and where their resistance stems from — this will help you identify a mutually acceptable outcome (if it’s possible). If all else fails, seek out another colleague who works well with the resistant one and learn what collaboration strategies they employ.

I recently read this article in Entrepreneur about how to effectively handle conflict resolution — a must-read for every leader.

“We all face conflict at some point in our day, whether professionally or personally. Conflict at work, while unfortunate, is to be expected. Everyone is different. Differences lead to conflict when individuals cannot agree. And because conflict is inevitable, it’s best to prepare so that we can handle ourselves when disputes arise. As a leadership consultant who has worked with smaller companies and Fortune 500 companies, I have developed what I call the “5C” approach to handling conflict.”

Here are the five ways to approach conflict in the workplace.

  1. Carefully Listen.

“Every conflict has sides. Before deciding how to resolve a conflict, make sure to listen carefully to what each party is saying. Careful listening is one of the best ways to handle conflict as it allows you to validate others’ ideas and let them know that they are being heard, regardless of whether you agree or not.”

2. Considerately look at the situation.

“When conflicts arise, emotions and anxieties are heightened. To avoid worsening the situation, make sure that your teams learn to understand each other, even when they don’t agree. Part of being able to listen carefully is being able to understand and accept others’ ideas. Remember that you’re not always right, and your ideas aren’t necessarily the best. Remind your team of this, as well, as you mediate the conflict.”

3. Calmly discuss the conflicting perspectives.

“How we respond to conflict can intensify the tension. Conflicts worsen when the arguing parties become emotional, and the argument becomes personal. The best way to handle conflict is to stay calm: Calmer minds produce clearer ideas. Keep yourself and your team calm. Avoid showing signs that you agree with one group and not another. Show your team that you can keep calm and reasonable. Insist all parties talk to each other in a relaxed and civil manner. Don’t let emotions overwhelm the situation by making sure no one shouts, makes offensive comments, or blames.”

4. Conscientiously look at the facts

“Be sure you have all the facts before making any decisions to resolve a conflict. Clarify the points first, taking into consideration each person’s different perspectives. For instance, if a conflict arises while the team is deciding how to solve a problem, try to identify what each team member perceives as the problem. Different perspectives on the same problem will lead everyone to consider different solutions. Let everyone present their ideas without interruption so that you can all get the relevant facts you need to make an informed decision. As with careful listening and consideration, be sure to listen to each person and consider the facts they present. Be thorough in your investigation.”

5. Cooperatively work together.

“All four C’s should help your team to work together in resolving the conflict. With each of these tips, you’re focusing your team on addressing the shared problem instead of attacking each other’s personalities. Because you and your team carefully listened, considerately looked at the situation, calmly discussed perspectives, and conscientiously looked at the facts, you can all cooperate despite initial disagreement.”



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