Employee conflicts: How to deal with them?

By Wednesday, May 3, 2017 0 No tags Permalink 7

Most managers have confessed to have witnessed the otherwise savvy professional self-destruct because of conflicts amongst them. And the most highly popular technique used to resolve them is turning a blind eye to them. Putting one’s head in the sand and hoping that conflict will pass by is not profitable in the long run.

But it is rather tempting to ignore petty employee disputes and hope they simply work themselves out.  But unfortunately conflicts rarely resolve on their own and sometimes even the smallest  disagreement escalates into more serious issues if not dealt proactively and properly. The thing  is – employees and conflicts go hand-in-hand. If conflicts are not addressed  in a healthy, productive manner it may cause loses to the organization.

Research says, 30% of management time is spent on dealing with conflicts and anger in the work place.

Wouldn’t it be better to spend this time on some other aspect of running a business?. And the very thing that keeps an organization going are the employees. Therefore interventions are often necessary in order to keep workforce productive and stress-free.

Key points to keep in mind while settling conflicts in the workplace are :

  • Analyze when to step in – As a manager you wouldn’t want to intervene every time a petty issue arises, but also you must not ignore these disputes as it may hamper the team’s output and moral, thus impacting the productivity significantly. Work on those involved in the dispute to identify the reason for the conflict, clear the air and determine ways to address future disagreements.
  • Ask and listen – Before attempting to resolve the conflict try the hear out both the parties when dealing with conflicts amongst your employees. Always stay neutral and don’t pick sides. To calm situations down, it always has to take a positive approach. Ask each party involved, to present their side of the story. During the meeting ensure discussion is courteous & non-confrontational and the focus is on issues rather than on individuals. This approach also helps both parties see the situation from another perspective.
  • Focus on facts – Many a times managers come across assumptions, that involved people may have. These perceptions and assumptions may be very valid concerns to the individual in question but they may not necessarily be correct. Because in these situations employees are very emotionally charged, their concerns might be certain and real, even then you cannot do anything as there is no strong basis. Once you are aware of any problems (whether real or perceived) you can go about helping your employees to see areas in which they need to improve or change.It is always beneficial to keep in mind to not ignore such workplace disputes by telling them to get over it or move on.
  • Decide what’s important: Negotiate a solution – Brainstorm a solution with which everyone is going to feel satisfied. It will help if everyone has had fair amount of  input in generating solutions. Also sometimes, asking the employees themselves what they would like to do to resolve the issue is a good way to come up with a workable solution that both parties are in agreement with. If this can be done, then, as long as people listen carefully and explore the facts, conflicts can often be resolved effectively.

Conflict in the workplace can be very destructive to good teamwork. The fact of the matter is conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. But to be able to bring swift resolution to conflict will only improve your business’s output.


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