6 Conflicts Management Activities To Use With Your Team

Employees develop animosity when confrontations are left to simmer and endure. As a result, conflict resolution is an important skill to have in the workplace.

With scores of individuals functioning side by side every day, conflict is bound to arise, whether it’s a minor issue or something far more serious. 

When disagreements emerge, morale suffers, productivity suffers, turnover rises, and the business culture becomes poisonous. If you look behind, it could have all started with a simple quarrel about a lost report.

Rather than allowing this to happen, provide your employees with dispute resolution training. While traditional training might help, games and activities are one of the greatest methods to go about it.

Conflict Management Strategies

1. Said, Heard, Meant

This discussion practice is best completed by two people. The first person to speak makes a statement. “When will you have X task completed?” is an example of a statement that is both workplace-relevant and otherwise harmless.

The second speaker takes an uncharitable view of this sentence, as one might if looking for subtext. “You requested that and I heard ‘you’re working too slowly, speed up,'” they said.

With an “I meant” statement, the first speaker refutes this. “You heard ‘you’re working too slowly,’ but I meant ‘I need to know a timeline so I can organize the rest of my day,'” as in “You heard ‘you’re operating very leisurely,’ but I meant “I need to know a timeline so I can plan the rest of my day.”

This cycle can come to an end after the fundamental meaning has been discovered, and the conversation can move on to the discrepancy between what one person means and what the other hears. 

The activity aims to encourage clearer, more straightforward communication to reduce miscommunication-related disputes. 

2. Rotate Debates

In this scenario, you choose two employees and present them with a problem. The subject can be large and far-reaching, such as climate change, or narrow and personal, such as an office parking dispute.

Assign each team a dispute side, which they will debate for 2-3 minutes at a time. Switch sides after each side has presented its case, then have each side argue the opposite side. As an optional third step, have the parties form a team and collaborate on their arguments.

This practice employs a range of scenarios to promote critical thinking and, more significantly, the capacity to look at a problem from various perspectives. It encourages the ability to find a solution by navigating down the middle.

3. The Two Dollar Game

Teams in this MIT-developed game focus on hidden intentions, conflicting negotiating aims, and conflicts that happen when individuals act in their own best interests.

Employees are divided into two groups for this game. The groups are given two dollars and are given the goal of sharing those two dollars in a way that satisfies both of them to the greatest extent feasible. 

While a 50/50 split is the most equal, there is a twist: each person is given a hidden goal to try to achieve.

4. Arm-Wrestling

This game is difficult to play since no one can genuinely speak Arm-Wrestling. Employees are paired up as partners and placed in a classic arm-wrestling stance. Two instructions are provided to them:

  • If the back of your partner’s palm hits the table, you get the point.
  • You only care about yourself and want as many points as possible.

Then allow each duo ten seconds (or however long you want the exercise to go) to find out how to get the most points.

The arm-wrestling stance creates an antagonistic environment where people are eager to fight for points. Assumptions are made, but they are never mentioned.

5. Storytelling 

For this exercise, your group gathers to share stories of actual, real-life disputes they’ve had in the past. Each employee must describe a past conflict they faced and how they dealt with it.

The purpose of this activity is to show that everyone has made mistakes or been unreasonable at times and how they’ve dealt with disagreement in the real world. The person presents their tale, and the team can analyze it, offer feedback and suggestions, and decide on a suitable resolution.

6. Knot or Not

A colorful, distracting rope is all that is required for this simple play. The group moderator lays the rope in a pile and asks the group to determine if the rope will have a knot if pulled from both ends. But there’s more to it.

This exercise gives a group the challenge of making a unanimous verdict and then asks the people who decided why they made it the way they did and what the stakes would have to be for them to stay strong.


In a world where people must communicate with one another both inside and outside of an organization or a commercial context, conflict is unavoidable. Therefore, it’s critical for healthy corporate culture to teach your staff how to notice, assess, and address conflict in a non-disruptive manner.