When you need to know how to resolve conflict between two employees, it’s usually already too late for prevention. You may have colleagues or employees who report to you who are struggling to get along. This can be due to personality clashes, differences in work styles and expectations, or a large amount of stress interrupting the collaborative flow of things. Having the skills to effectively deal with employee conflict can help reduce existing stress and turn the conflict into an opportunity for growth. At the very least, having these skills can help you de-escalate the issues before they get worse so everyone can get back to work.
How to Resolve Conflict Between Two Employees
Whether you’re a manager or fellow employee, having the leadership skills required to handle conflict at work can take you far in your career, and arm you with the ability to not get swept up in drama yourself. Here are some tips on how to resolve conflict between two employees.
1. Get to the Heart of the Conflict
You may have two employees arguing over a deadline but if there’s that much heat in the argument, it might actually be about something else. Don’t make assumptions or buy into the gossip; instead, get to the heart of the issue. This is an especially important time to make sure the conflict isn’t stemming from a discrimination or harassment issue that could require a quick escalation to upper management. Otherwise, it’s important to put the conflict in context so that you can understand if the true issue is chronic stress, poor communication, a negative company culture, or something else worth knowing.
2. Support Collaboration
One of the key ways to learn how to handle conflict between employees is to know when to back off. Encourage the employees to find a solution together without too much intervention from management. Keep a close on eye on how this works because if this strategy isn’t meant for this particular quarrel, an escalation could happen quickly. Feel free to provide guidance and coaching on effective communication and emotional regulation to keep things cool and headed toward collaborative conflict resolution.
3. Don’t Wait
Managers or impacted team members may try to avoid getting involved in the hopes the conflict will simmer down on its own. While that’s possible, it’s not always likely. And if things don’t diffuse, letting it sit will only make it worse. So get to the root of the issue as early as possible to establish some expectations of behavior and communication before things get personal.
4. Listen Fairly
This is one of the most important lessons when learning how to resolve conflict between two employees. While you may have an urge to play favorites or buy into the gossip about the issues at hand, it’s important to ensure you’re listening to everyone involved equally for several reasons. In part, this alone can help de-escalate the situation because once someone recognizes their emotions are being heard and validated, they may no longer feel the need to exert energy to be respected. Another benefit to this is that it helps inform you about what’s at the root of the issue so that solutions can be reached more quickly.
5. Keep a Record
If you’re getting involved and figuring out how to resolve conflict between two employees, create some kind of paper trail. Sometimes just applying conflict management techniques in the workplace isn’t enough to make the issues dissipate. So make sure you have some record of what happened originally and what interventions have been done. Know when the issue needs to be escalated to upper management or HR.
When you’re caught in the middle of a fight, it can be difficult to figure out how to resolve conflict between two employees. 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.