Conflict is inevitable in any workplace where employees of diverse experiences and styles are brought together to complete business goals. Conflicts at the workplace can be originated by different causes such as personality differences, workplace behaviors, unmet needs in the workplace and others. Despite these, it is essential to immediately respond to conflicts to assure more effective communication.
Here are moves you can take to resolve conflicts between employees and bring back energy to your team for better productivity.
1. Get into the Heart of the Conflict as Early as Possible
When you notice the conflict, don’t dodge it and assume nothing is happening. If not embraced immediately, the conflicts will get worse as time goes on, and it can be embedded in everyday work – or worse, affect the entire team. As a manager, you need to sit down and discuss with the opposing sides on what needs are not being met and ensure mutual understanding. Get as much information as possible from each side’s point of view. Ask enough questions until you are certain that both you and the opposing sides understand the issue.
2. Listen carefully and Avoid Taking Sides
When there is a conflict, it is important to listen to what each of the opposing sides is saying. Call in the meeting and ask each person responsible to explain their side of the story. Avoid interrupting or taking sides. Ask questions to a person explaining the side of their story to make sure you understand what they are saying. You can also rephrase their message back to them to ensure you are both on the same page.
3. Identify Areas of Agreement and Disagreement.
After you listen to both sides, the next step is to summarize the areas of agreement and disagreement. Let them listen to your observation from their stories and ask one by one if he/she agrees with your assessment. If they don’t, change your assessment until both of you agree on the areas of conflict.
4. Find Solutions to Satisfy Needs
After both sides have identified the agreement and disagreement, now you can draw a conclusion on the best resolution. Start by identifying solutions that both sides can live with and involve them to see where there is common ground. Then discuss the responsibility each party has to ensure that they maintain the solution. You can generate multiple alternatives and let them agree, which is best for both sides. Ensure there is no sign of resistance, such as total silence, but get real agreement from everyone.
5. Explore Other Options
If the conflict will go unresolved, it might cause more trouble for the department and company at large. If the initial steps of resolving fail, you might need to explore other options such as refer to the employee code of conduct and if necessary you can involve the HR. HR will help to draw up a performance improvement plan for the situation.