As a company leader, you have to handle different tasks in order to make sure your workplace functions smoothly, and one of the most challenging responsibilities is conflict resolution.
Conflict is unavoidable in any workplace. Regardless of why tensions arise, the issues must be addressed through decisive leadership and mediation. Below are a handful of do’s and don’ts on handling conflict-related issues.
DO realize that conflict is natural
Regardless of how unified you try to make your workplace, issues between employees will arise. Co-workers can butt heads over how to handle a job duty, various performance issues or simply as a result of spending countless hours together.
Effective leadership isn’t about making certain fights never occur; they will. It’s about resolution.
DO listen to all sides
When you’re approached about a dispute, try to view the situation from every angle. Bring those with knowledge of the situation into your office or a quiet space one at a time and pay close attention to everything you hear. Ask questions to make sure you get the whole picture and ask someone to rephrase if you don’t understand what was said.
DO resolve issues quickly
After listening to all points of view, you need to identify the root cause of the conflict. Is it a personality clash? It is a systemic issue?
Once you’ve identified the root cause, you must do something about it. Even if a solution to the problem is readily apparent, it can be beneficial to get input on a solution from those involved in the conflict, after tempers have cooled, of course.
DO keep an open mind
Keeping an open mind is easier said than done. We all have inherent biases and set ways of thinking. These mental patterns can strip the nuance from complex problems in a negative way.
Bear in mind that many conflicts are not straightforward or simple. People often bring baggage to a conflict and it’s important to consider where each person is coming from, even if you can’t completely relate.
It’s also important to keep an open mind when it comes to solutions, and even be able to accept a solution you don’t completely agree with.
DON’T get emotionally involved
If you’re friends with one of the staff members involved or have strong views about the matter in dispute, it can be challenging to be objective. However, if you don’t, your ultimate decision on the conflict may be seen as biased, which will undercut your authority with some people. DO your best to remain impartial and focus on a resolution that is best for the business and your employees.
DON’T dismiss someone’s feelings
Even if you don’t believe the issue being disputed is a big deal and can’t see why someone might get upset about it, it’s vital not to dismiss anyone’s feelings. Everybody deserves to feel the way they feel. Suggesting that someone is overreacting may undercut their reputation with other people, turning them into an unhappy employee.
Need help handling conflict in your workplace?
At Cornerstone, we help our clients address all manner of personnel issues. If your company is currently looking for a staffing solution, please contact us today.