Whether you work remotely or in the office, working with a team can guarantee eventual conflict. If you’ve ever found yourself in the middle of two sparring coworkers, it can be hard to know how to react. You might have an urge to step in and quell the tension, you might be concerned and escalate the situation to HR, or you might want to ignore it altogether. Here are some ways to know if you’re equipped to step in and help manage coworker conflict resolution.
Coworker Conflict Resolution
Getting involved with the affairs of our colleagues is not for everyone. Some people have a knack for calm objectivity that sparring colleagues may see as a helpful intervention. Others might have good intentions but may unintentionally fuel the conflict flames and make things tenser. Here are some ways to know if you’re up for the task of managing coworker conflict resolution.
You Can Remain Objective
If you know how to manage conflict in the workplace you know it’s important for you to remain objective. There are a few reasons for this. One reason is that if you show any indication that you’re on one person’s side, or if there’s an obvious benefit to you in a certain outcome, you will lose trust with those in the conflict. Another reason is that you don’t want to inadvertently join in on the conflict by trying to resolve it. Make sure you can keep enough distance to keep your personal opinions at bay.
You Can Remain Calm
Remember that you work with these folks which means your life is somehow impacted by the state of affairs, so even if you can remain objective, coworker conflict resolution also requires that you remain calm. Regulating your own emotional reactivity, including concern and urgency over the conflict, is important to help keep everyone else calm, too. Mindfulness has been shown to be a very helpful tool in managing conflict. If you think you’re too close to the situation and will become heated or emotionally reactive, it might be best to step back and not make a habit of resolving coworker conflict.
You Can Get Mutual Buy-In
If anyone involved in the conflict sees you as “butting in where you don’t belong,” your involvement could make things worse. Make sure you’ve let each party know why you’re stepping in — to help colleagues work through their differences for the sake of the team and to avoid management interference — and if they ask you to give them privacy or not get involved, respect that.
You Know When to Escalate Things
When engaging in conflict resolution among employees or team members, know that there may come a time when management or human resources needs to get involved. If you’re worried about safety, liability, or the conflict seems like it’s beyond repair, it may be time to get management involved or empower your conflicting coworkers to escalate the matter themselves. Some folks may worry that punitive action will be taken, but management involvement can also help regulate the situation and set some containment that a colleague can’t. Reaching out to a conflict coach might also be an innovative way to help your colleagues and grow your leadership skills at the same time.
Knowing what to do during employee disputes is challenging and could make things worse than when they started. Get support from neutral and experienced professionals who can diffuse rather than ignite the tension at work. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right solutions for your team.