Wherever there’s a crowd, there’s conflict. When people with different ideologies are brought together to fulfill a common goal, conflict is basically inevitable. Workplace conflict can take multiple forms, either between two employees, between an employee and his boss or between two superiors. As difficult as it might seem, resolving these conflicts is possible.
Here are some ways you can resolve workplace conflicts and prevent a hostile working environment:
1. Embrace the conflicts
Don’t ever turn a blind eye. Conflict will only go worse with time as tension builds up. Deal with the issues and resolve them as soon as possible before people start holding grudges, which will hinder employee morale.
Whenever you witness a disagreement between two of your employees, make sure they work it out. Try to listen to both sides and help resolve the issue peacefully. When a conflict arises between two groups, you need to step in and get them on the same page. Everybody must understand that they have the goal. If there’s a conflict between you and one of your employees, try to resolve it in a private conversation.
2. Set-up meetings
Set up meetings between the two parties to understand the problem from everyone's perspective. If there’s no communication, the conflict will only build up.
During these meetings, both parties should have adequate time to say their piece and hear to what the other has to say. Everyone has the right to share their opinion and that should be common knowledge.
Let everyone know that assigning blame will not resolve the situation in any way. The goal is to find a viable solution to the disagreement that’s in everyone’s best interest.
3. Listen to your employees
The main objective is to bring people together and hear their side. Hence, listening to them is the top priority.
You need to get the full story from each and every person and get the full picture before you start providing your insights. Also, make sure they know that you are getting their message and understanding their point of view. Repeat back what they just said from your stance. For instance “so you are upset about this, because...”. Whenever needed, ask a question in between to understand the situation thoroughly.
Listening is always about understanding, not judging. Employees are not always that communicative and keep their opinions to themselves to avoid judgment. Implement Your Safe Hub in your organization. It's a secure communication channel that protects your employees with the power of anonymity.
4. Seek a mutually acceptable decision
The conversation should be entirely focused on the workplace conflict in question. Use your experience to provide insight into the situation. Being an authority figure, you have the advantage of being listened to.
Drive all the arguments to resolution by making them understand that they are on the same team. In order to resolve the conflict, you need to generate empathy. Make sure each party understands the other’s point of view.
5. Provide your insights
Use your experience to guide them through these disagreements. Just remember, that you are there to help them resolve their conflicts.
You need to be the one in control of the discussion. Do not deviate from the topic, nor let anybody focus on anything else. Share some similar cases you've encountered throughout your journey as a manager and how they came to a resolution.