conflict resolution at work

Conflict Resolution: What to Do When You’re in the Wrong in the Workplace

Wednesday 2 October, 2019

Workplaces are fluid and challenging environments. With different people from different backgrounds working together in close proximity, you never know when conflicts might arise.

Workplace conflicts can come in many different forms, and they can be unexpected, or they can brew and simmer for a long time. Conflicts can be personal, with issues between individuals likely to occur in tight-knit offices and high-pressure workplaces.

Conflicts will also be largely business or work-related. When team members with different approaches, different leadership styles and management skills, or different aims and goals meet, there can be clashes. While conflicts in the workplace are best avoided, you need to know how to resolve them should they occur, in the most timely and appropriate manner possible to avoid disruption and escalation.

Conflict Resolution When You’re in the Wrong

Conflicts in the workplace come in many shapes and forms, but on a personal level, the most difficult conflicts to deal with are those where you are in the wrong.

Dealing with your own mistakes and follies is never easy, especially in a high-pressure work environment. But there are always ways to resolve the conflict and to save face with your fellow employees. It’s easy for things to get out of hand, but once you’ve realised that it’s you that might be in the wrong, you are already beginning to diffuse the situation.

Identify and Admit Your Mistakes

The first step is the most challenging, however. But once you’ve understood the situation at hand and that you are the one in the wrong who has potentially caused the conflict, you’re already on the way to its resolution.

After identifying the cause of the conflict, admit your mistakes to yourself first. If it will help diffuse the situation further, you should admit your mistakes to those involved too.


Even if you are in the wrong, it’s important to keep a positive attitude and a positive state of mind, even as you admit your mistakes.

Take this as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and to express positivity in the workplace as a way to resolve the conflict at hand.

Work Towards a Common Goal

Overcome the conflict in the workplace by helping each other work towards a common goal. The positivity and teamwork involved will help to remedy a negative situation and will provide a way for all parties involved to get back on track and begin rebuilding relationships.

Communicate and Apologise

Communication is incredibly important in conflict resolution. Depending on the severity of the workplace conflict and the mistakes that have been made, you will want to consider apologising to your fellow team members, to communicate clearly your resolve to end any conflict.

This can help to wrap up the situation at hand and provide closure to the conflict in the office. You have admitted you are at fault, and you can offer to apologise for the conflict that ensued.

Here at the Civil Service College, our expert trainers offer a range of professional development skills training courses, which can help you to overcome and effectively manage conflicts in the workplace.


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