Employee Conflict Resolution: When is it Simply Time for Termination?

November 15, 2019by Vanessa Rose

If you are a manager or in human resources, employee conflict resolution falls under your purview of responsibility. When two or more employees engage in conflict with each other, or other levels of management, it’s up to you to navigate the ups and downs of it and ensure the conflict gets resolved quickly with as little negative impact on the team as possible. Of course, this isn’t always easy to do, especially if you have an employee or two that always seems to be at the center of it all.

Employee Conflict Resolution

Noticing if a few employees stand out as consistently stirring you to utilize your employee conflict resolution skills will give you someplace to target your troubleshooting. Sometimes company culture can inadvertently breed ongoing conflict, or the different work styles between two team members can constantly flare up issues. Managing conflict at work is a tough task, and part of it, especially when the conflict is chronic, is understanding the root. If you’ve determined that certain employees may be the issue, you might start wondering: when is enough enough?

As a manager, figuring out how to deal with conflict in the workplace, terminating an employee shouldn’t typically be your first or even second instinct. But if you believe you’ve found a specific culprit who keeps setting off disputes with others, it may be time to address them as an HR issue. Here’s how to determine the best next steps:

1. Productivity is Down

If your employee is putting more of their focus on gossip, interpersonal ruptures, and workplace drama than the job at hand, you’re going to notice an impact on their performance. Lower productivity is a sign something needs your attention.

2. Drama Seems to Circle Them

If there’s one employee that always seems to be at the center of the tension, you may have found the employee that is starting conflict or fueling it. An employee who seems to be pitting people against each other rather than trying to work collaboratively may be using the workplace for their own fun.

3. Colleagues and Customers Complain

Employee conflict resolution needs can often become clear with bystander verification. Usually, if one person is at the center of the workplace drama, they will be actively making others uncomfortable in the process. Coworkers and customers will only tolerate that for so long so if you’re hearing common complaints, it’s important you take heed.

4. There Are Policy Violations

Any violations of company policy in service to conflict-stirring should be addressed immediately to prevent the conflict environment from erupting further. Don’t take this to mean infrequent, inadvertent rule-breaking should be strictly punished, but combining all of these signs together, mixed with consistency, is likely to mean you have an employee on your hands that isn’t doing the company any favors.

5. Your Management Style is Being Challenged

There are different leadership styles that may impact your ability to decide to let an employee go. Transformational or servant leaders may have the urge to use conflict as an opportunity to teach and inspire an employee into more appropriate behavior. But if you’re still not seeing improvements after you’ve put in that effort, it might be time to address the issue head-on.

Managing conflict in organizations can be difficult because there are a lot of moving parts. Getting to the root of chronic conflict can help you determine where the issues are mostly stemming from and how to address them for once and for all. While employee conflict resolution is part of a manager’s job, it shouldn’t be your only job. So while making the call to terminate someone isn’t — and shouldn’t be — easy, if they’re immovable in their willingness to be more collaborative, it may be in everyone’s best interest that they part from the team.

You don’t have to tackle employee conflict resolution on your own. Get support from unbiased professionals who can help you decide if your workplace culture is being disrupted by one or more individuals directly. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to get the right kind of resolution for your team.

employee conflict resolution

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa is a licensed psychotherapist and writer living in Los Angeles. When not on a mission for inner peace and conflict resolution, she enjoys making art, visiting the beach, and taking dog portraits. Always curious about self-improvement and emotional expansion, Vanessa also manages her own website which explores the unconscious and archetypal influences on how we eat, express, and relate.

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