How to Prevent Fights in the Workplace

John Scott
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Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable when individuals of all ages, backgrounds, levels of experience and personalities come together. Not only is fighting in the workplace unproductive and tacky, but it also lessens the quality of service your customers receive. Reducing conflicts at work is possible by utilizing helpful practices.

Encourage Effective Communication

Effective communication is important for avoiding conflicts at work. Solid communication practices help staff to tackle problems at work without tackling each other. Encourage employees to speak properly to one another and show respect and courtesy. Both workers and employees must listen carefully to understand each other’s perspective and avoid harsh disagreements. Hold regular staff meetings so employees and managers can openly discuss concerns. Allow employees to offer solutions for dealing with issues that provoke employee fights.

Sponsor Employee Interaction

Weak employee relationships often lead to fights, but employees who interact through company-sponsored events learn to bond with one another on a social level. Employees and managers who spend time with one another in a laid-back setting can build stronger working relationships. Company events also help employees feel more comfortable around each other to make working together easier.

Develop Your Human Resources Division

Companies with a strong human resources presence on the premises experience fewer fights. Your human resources department can train managers to spot minute signs of trouble so they can diffuse problematic situations early. Create a mediation program to help employees eliminate conflicts at work in a peaceful manner. When any staff member has an issue, the individual can file a complaint and take the appropriate steps to resolve the matter. In addition, allow employees to leave anonymous messages in the human resources department in case they spot a problem brewing in the workplace.

Adopt a No-Nonsense Policy

A physical fight in the workplace reduces employee morale and makes workers feel anxious and unsafe. If your employees understand there is no tolerance for physical fights in the workplace, they are far more likely to comply. Workers who do not want to be terminated are careful to choose each battle wisely, and they are more likely to report a conflict at work before it escalates to a damaging caliber.

Hire Better Workers

By carefully screening your workers, you can find bad apples before they join your staff. Perform background checks on potential hires to determine each worker’s susceptibility for violent or aggressive behavior. Use drug testing to identify employees who may be unstable, and contact the former employers of job candidates to learn more about the candidates.

Monitor Employee Performance

When an employee is not doing his job and passes the workload onto others, it causes fights in the workplace. By checking each employee’s performance regularly, you address unproductive workers who frustrate good employees. Ensure the workload is fair so no employee has too much extra time to squabble. Establish clear rules for employees to finish tasks effectively, and reprimand those who do not follow rules so other employees do not take on the role.

Encourage employees and managers to be tolerant of each other in the workplace to create a harmonious work environment. Although conflicts at work undoubtedly occur, you can help employees and managers move beyond them to achieve harmony.


(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /


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