Whether we’re in the office interacting regularly or focusing only on remote work, inevitably, some people won’t be able to get along. But it’s imperative for productivity that managers find ways to handle conflict and find resolution in the workplace. So how can you ensure that the people on your team can find common ground and be effective and efficient together?
Know Why the Conflict is Happening
The most important step to resolving conflict is to know what it’s about to begin with. You may think you can observe what’s happening, but that may only be what’s on the surface. The best thing to do is to talk the parties involved specifically to find out what they’re saying, and disagreeing about.
Facilitate the Employees to Work it Out Together
Once you bring the employees together, give them the tools they need to work it out on their own. Facilitate that by checking in, offering ideas, and allowing them to have a safe space to talk over the situation. If they cannot work it out on their own, you can jump in and help them.
You also need to intervene quickly to resolve the issue before it gets out of hand. The longer you wait, hoping they’ll deal with it on their own, the more likely the problem will fester. It’s best to get involved quickly and work with them to come to common ground.
Listen to Both Sides Impartially
As the manager, you can’t take sides. If one employee things the other is getting preferential treatment for any reason, they will be less likely to engage in the process. You can’t allow yourself to have favorites. Simply listen to what they have to say before you react or respond.
Determine the Issue
Sometimes, the core issue is quite different from what you may have originally thought. Your employees may be fighting over the way something is done, but the thing isn’t the issue. It may be about how they communicate with one another or how they have very different working styles. That’s the root cause.
Find a Resolution
Once you have an idea of what the conflict is really about, you can take steps to resolve the issue. Sometimes it’s about each person better understanding where the other is coming from. Encourage empathy for each worker to see it from the other’s point of view.
Go By The Book
Finally, throughout the process, make sure you are compliant with your own rules and employee handbook. If there are circumstances that require a different type of resolution, make sure you are compliant with local and federal employment laws and consistent with your requirements.