For a company to thrive, its employees must get along and function like a well-oiled machine. However, when people work together day in and day out, some friction is inevitable.
These issues can range from simple misunderstandings to full-blown arguments and knowing how to deal with them could mean all the difference for your business’s success.
So, we’ve come up with a little guide to help you resolve these disputes. Take a look.
1. Establish Open Communication
How you position yourself from the beginning is crucial. That is why you have to make sure your employees can come to you no matter what.
Regardless of the severity of the problem, or even before one arises, you should make them feel safe, heard and appreciated.
2. Acknowledge The Dispute
In order to manage and resolve a conflict among your team members, you have to acknowledge it as soon as possible. While we do not want the conflict to interrupt our company’s work-flow and productivity, it is quite common and not necessarily bad.
That is why it should not be ignored. People sometimes find first signs of conflict trivial or unimportant, but it is essential to see the difference between a dispute and a healthy debate.
Hidden problems can often evolve into something much bigger if not addressed on time.
3. Listen To All Sides
Once you notice a problem, it’s important to determine who is involved. Talk to everyone individually and give them a chance to tell their side of the story.
Listen to everything they have to say and try not to interrupt. Encourage them to be honest and give as many details as they can as that can help you find the source of the issue. Ask questions if something is not clear.
Moreover, you can even hear what the other employees who were not involved have to say. An objective view of the situation can also be of great help.
4. Try To Reach An Agreement
After you have talked to everyone individually and understand the situation at hand, you should gather everyone involved for a meeting. Go through everything that happened and help your employees find common ground.
Encourage them to share their point of view and imagine themselves in the other person’s shoes. Work together to reach an agreement. See where the misunderstanding came from and what is keeping them from resolving this conflict.
Sometimes people focus on the details and they cannot see the whole picture – so try to bring them back to the reality of the situation and show them what is really important.
While doing this, it’s vital to remember that you are only there to provide guidance and mend the situation; make it clear you are not taking sides.
5. Turn To Experts
In case you notice your efforts are just not helping the situation, it might be time to call in the big guns. Many companies such as Segal Mediation Group offer mediating service in the workplace.
Turning to professionals can take this burden off your back and it’s sure to reach a satisfactory agreement.
6. Ask Forgiveness
After you’ve found a solution, you should encourage the workers to apologize to one another.
Furthermore, if you were involved in the dispute in any way, make sure they know that there are no hard feelings. Forgive them and ask for forgiveness.
If you do it just for appearance sake, it will lead to grudges and later conflict – so make sure you are honest and truly sorry for your actions.
7. Make Sure To Follow Up
We can never be sure whether the conflict has completely disappeared. That is why you have to follow up with your employees.
After some time, call them in individually to see whether the situation has improved and whether anything else happened.
If their relationship is better, great! On the other hand, if you see that it still needs work, you can schedule a meeting where you can discuss everything again.
8. Set Expectation For The Future
If the dispute was caused by a misunderstanding about a task, you should clearly state what you expect of your employees. Sometimes workers don’t know what is expected of them by the organization or their coworkers.
In the future, you should set the expectations early on. Talk about it during the job interview and when they start working. Knowing where to go when they have a question or are not sure what to do is crucial and it will ensure fewer problems in the workplace.
As we said above, conflict is not always bad seeing as how you can learn a lot about your employees and company from it. In case a problem does arise, make sure to listen to all sides and look for some common ground.