Effective Solutions for Manager and Employee Conflict

If you’re a manager, there are times you may have to mediate between employees who can’t seem to get along. It can be even trickier to resolve conflict when one of the parties in conflict is you. Manager and employee conflict can’t be ignored. At the same time, the wrong approach can make a situation go from bad to worse. It’s important to find effective solutions for manager and employee conflict as quickly as possible.

Free Consultation for Workplace Conflict

Controlling Your Own Emotions

When you’re in conflict with a staff member, keeping your emotions in check is imperative.  The last thing you want to do with an employee is make it obvious that they’re getting under your skin. Work on self-awareness so you can recognize what may cause you to be reactive. Project a positive attitude at work to help keep discussions productive.

When you’re confident that you can handle any difficult situation that arises, you’re less likely to lose control of your emotions. Attending workshops or other training programs on the topic of conflict resolution can teach you valuable skills that help you to deal with many different types of conflict. It also gives you a chance to work with peers to practice skills and get feedback about situations you’re currently dealing with.

Dealing with Personality Differences

Conflict between managers and employees may be triggered by a variety of factors such as cultural differences or coming from widely different backgrounds. You may have an underlying bias that you’re not even aware of. You and your employee may also have different approaches to work, such as one of you wanting to work closely together while the other wants to work on things alone. Employees may have expectations of how you should manage based on the management style of previous managers

Whenever there’s a manager and employee conflict that may be related to personality differences, focus on the problem, not the person. Get to the heart of what’s causing the conflict and work on finding a solution that allows you to work together.

Practice Active Listening

When you’re having trouble working through a conflict with an employee, it can be helpful to practice active listening. Let them talk without interruption and ask open-ended questions that encourage them to express their side. Take notes if it helps you to clarify what they’re saying and restate what you heard to make sure there are no misunderstandings.

Instead of jumping to conclusions about what is motivating the employee or driving them to be disagreeable, take the time to thoroughly listen to their side. Be empathetic about their perspective and let them know you’re interested in hearing their thoughts. Look for common ground, but at the same time, avoid being constantly accommodating and giving in to whatever they want. The goal is to find a win-win solution that can help you both get past your difficulties working together.

Getting Outside Help

Staff members that refuse to try to collaborate and work toward a mutually agreeable solution still have to be dealt with. Constant disrespect, disruptiveness or insubordination is unacceptable behavior that can create a tense environment and affect others in the workplace. When manager and employee conflicts continue to show no signs of improvement or keep getting worse, it’s time to involve outside help.

Your HR department is a good place to start. They may be able to act as mediators or provide clear directives about disciplinary action. Another thing you could do is to look for an outside company that specializes in restoring peace in the workplace. Mediation services provided by an outside company can be truly impartial which can help to de-intensify worsening conflict.

Reach out to Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today for more information about conflict resolution services.


Valerie Dansereau


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