Conflicts between employees can arise no matter how harmonious your work environment is the majority of the time. These issues can result in tension that makes everyone in the office or other workplace uncomfortable, and even affect productivity because of heightened gossip. However, resolving conflict between employees is possible with the right strategy or strategies. Review the following tips to take care of the issue peacefully and once again enjoy a positive workplace.

Free Consultation for Workplace Conflict

Don’t Wait to Start the Resolution Process

Trying to ignore the problem or sweep it under the proverbial rug will not make the issue go away. What it will do is increase tension and breed resentment because your employees feel like you aren’t supporting or helping them. If you do not have time to deal with the issue today or this week because of your work schedule, simply let your team members know. They will appreciate your transparency and that you acknowledged the conflict. Provide them with time slots for resolving the issue, such as next Monday at 10am or Wednesday at 2pm, so they know that a solution is in the near future.

Make Certain You Fully Understand the Problem

It is generally best to sit down with each employee individually before discussing the issue together, which avoids emotional reactions and potentially more conflict. Listen closely to both team members and consider taking notes or recording the sessions so you don’t miss anything. If you record your employees, let them know for legal purposes. Once you have a complete understanding of the problem, make arrangements with the team members to discuss it together. Make it clear that you understand the issue, have heard both sides, and will remain objective throughout the meeting, which avoids favoritism complaints.

Consider Hiring a Mediator

If you feel you cannot be objective for any reason, resolving conflict between employees should include a mediator. Such individuals are trained to remain objective and provide conflict resolution options that both parties are satisfied with. You might want to keep the mediator on retainer in the event of future conflicts. The person could become a trusted advisor who your team members know they can count on.

Respect Differences While Finding Things to Agree Upon

Plenty of people from different backgrounds work together with few to no conflicts arising. As long as everyone respects each other’s differences and focuses on the job at hand, the workplace remains positive. Stress this point to your team if the issue is gender, status, or learned behavior-related, and that the work environment is not the place to air personal grievances. Discuss what the team members can agree upon instead, such as wanting to do the best job possible or their passion over a shared project. Repeat the fact that personal difference-related conflicts are not welcome in the workplace and can result in disciplinary actions if they continue. Both team members should verbally acknowledge that they understand the agreement and the repercussions of not following it, as silence can indicate non-compliance.

Follow Up

Following up with the team members shows that you have not forgotten about the conflict and want to ensure both parties are working together peacefully. Book a follow-up meeting with both members or have separate meetings depending on what you think is best. Separate meetings allow the employees to discuss what improvements have been made openly in judgment-free environments, as well as any lingering issues they want addressed. You might want to start having one-on-one meetings with your entire team to prevent any issues from worsening.

For help resolving conflict between employees, contact Pollack Peacebuilding today!

Kent McGroarty

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