How To Tactfully Resolve Employee Conflicts
Sometimes, people just don’t get along at work. One study shows that 85% of employees experience conflict in the workplace, and most conflicts (54%) are caused by differing views or opinions. When there’s disharmony at work, it impacts everyone. People feel stressed and the entire environment can just feel uncomfortable.
If you’re a leader, it’s up to you to deal with employees who don’t get along. Megan Moran, a manager of HR services for Insperity, says that employee conflict should be handled swiftly and constructively. This can not only ease the tension but may lead to enhanced creativity and innovation.
In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we dive into Moran’s suggestions on how leaders can resolve conflicts among employees.
Consider the nature of the conflict. Instead of making assumptions about why employees aren’t getting along, get to the root of the disagreement. There may be several factors causing hostility, from a difficult client to clashing work styles.
Encourage employees to be self-sufficient. When possible, try to have your employees work it out amongst themselves. Moran points out that conflict resolution doesn’t necessarily have to end in agreement. It could simply mean respectfully agreeing to disagree.
Act quickly. If employees can’t work it out on their own, Moran advises stepping in to nip it in the bud. Figure out what’s going on and stop the landslide before it starts. Make sure everyone knows they will be held accountable for their behavior.
Listen to both sides. Dismiss any gossip and work directly with the people involved. People want to feel listened to and acknowledged, Moran says, so ask each person to explain their side of the story.
Slow things down and listen. Moran advises having each employee calmly articulate the issue. Chances are, the bickering employees may be angry and defensive, which is why it’s important to slow down and get to the heart of the matter.
Consult the employee handbook. This is important to ensure the potential resolution aligns with company policy. No employee should be above workplace rules, Moran says.
Find a solution. Maybe this involves reorganizing teams or simply giving employees time to cool off before they work together again. Moran says you could also help employees find a common ground. Sometimes, all that’s needed is to help co-workers realize they have the same goal.
Write it up. Always document workplace incidents, Moran says. This is to help you monitor employee behavior over time and to protect the business if an upset employee decides to take legal action. She recommends documenting the who, what, when, where and how, as well as the resolution that all parties agreed on.
Teach them how to communicate. Talking things out may not be enough. Moran recommends using personality assessments or training to teach employees how to communicate effectively.
Set the tone. Always try to lead by example and create a culture where people treat others with honesty and respect. When you’re open and honest, Moran says employees are more likely to follow your lead.
It’s never fun or easy dealing with employees who can’t seem to get along. However, it’s important to take the right actions to resolve disputes and help your team move forward in the best possible way.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Megan Moran is a New York-based manager of HR services for Insperity.