Dealing With Employee Conflict

It is quite natural to have employees in an organisation who don’t see eye to eye for whatever the reason. It could be a difference in personality, lifestyle, preferences, or they cannot get along. Regardless of the reason, it is something that can affect everyone to a point where it causes tension in the workplace and negatively impacts productivity. If you handle these conflicts effectively, it will pave the way for several positive improvements. The following will provide some insights into various solutions for your business;

Identify the Source of the Problem
Sometimes it can be hard to avoid making assumptions about a conflict between employees especially when rumours are going around. Instead of assuming anything, get all the parties involved and figure out where the problem began. If possible, have separate meetings with the employees, so you hear each side without interference from the other parties before having a general sitting. The problem could be due to several factors or a straightforward misunderstanding, and this is why it is also essential to play a non-biased role when resolving conflicts.

Respect Employee Differences
Respect is another essential aspect based on the fact that some people tend to make decisions on personal biases, which should not be the case. Not everyone will see things from your point of view and vice versa. By looking at things from a different perspective without being judgemental can help to avoid similar conflicts in the future, and it allows the mediator to maintain some amount of respect knowing that he or she wasn’t merely pulling rank as a resolution.

Prioritise conflict factors and make an action plan
Depending on the number of elements causing the conflict, you may need to prioritise. At this point, you should have already listened to all sides of the story. Have a general sitting with everyone involved and highlight the main points that caused the issue in the first place. By doing this, everyone will be on a level playing field, and you can go ahead with steps to resolve the problem. Worst case scenario you can also introduce a trusted business advisor and seek other alternatives to help aid conflict.

Confirm agreement and make notes
After you outline the steps, ensure that all parties are comfortable before moving forward. You should address anything still unclear at this point before going any further. The aim is to have the conflict settled in such a way that no party feels they have been undermined and ignored. This will prevent future problems, and it will also give the employees a chance to voice their opinions on the way forward. Ensure that you make notes that speak to the meeting you had with the people involved and make a note highlighting that everyone agreed as it relates to the steps taken to move forward.

Take swift action
This is by no means suggesting that you ignore the details so you can get the issue off the table as quickly as possible. Hat it means is that you should ensure that it does not take too long because unfortunately, some situations don’t work themselves out. This can eventually spill over and affect other employees and the company at large. Ensure that all parties are clear that they will be held accountable for their behaviour if the unrest should continue.  

It is safe to say that sufficient conflict resolution not only helps from a productivity point of view, but it also helps to build and strengthen relationships in the workplace. Instead of looking at conflicts as problems, see them as opportunities to know your employees and grow as individuals.

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