Like all other human beings, employees can sometimes get into conflicts and disagreements with one another. These disagreements can reduce employee morale and also can reduce productivity. For this reason, managers will want to do whatever they can to try to resolve employee disputes in a way that brings peace.
To an extent, managers should accept that conflict is inevitable. When employees feel that they can discuss conflicts openly, they are less likely to brood on the problem, which could make the situation worse.
Managers Must Avoid Favoritism
One of the biggest challenges that managers will need to be taught to overcome during management training is avoiding favoritism. An employer can do significant damage to employee morale when there is the impression, real or not, that one staff member is not being treated fairly. When two employees are involved in a dispute, the manager must fill the role of an impartial mediator.
However, managers should get involved in disputes. When employees get involved in disputes, they tend to engage in avoidance while resentment slowly builds, making the conflict worse. If the employees are not resolving the issue themselves, the management will need to find a constructive way to get involved.
Employees Must Talk it Out
The only way to do this is to talk it out. Arrange a time for the frustrated staff members to get-together and talk frankly about what is concerning them, but while doing it in a professional manner.
Once the staff members have had an opportunity to talk it out, the manager should then make it their responsibility to devise a solution. When they have come up with a solution that both can agree on, the final step is to make sure that they follow through with it.
Maximizing the Chance of Success
There are many ways that managers can maximize the successfulness of the conflict resolution. For one, both parties should be brought to a place where they are away from the ears of other coworkers. This will prevent other coworkers from influencing the process. Also, the manager should avoid hearsay. For example, if one employee claims that another staff member made a comment about the situation, the employer should ignore that. For example, Pat might say that Sam didn’t contribute his or her fair share to a project. Pat might then say that Jim was also frustrated at Sam. The manager should ignore the comment about Jim, since it is difficult to verify if Jim really was frustrated.
However, if there does seem to be a staff member who is involved in the conflict, the manager should confront that staff member and ask the staff member for his take on the situation. Conflicts do not always involve two employees. Jim might be the source of the conflict after all.
Employee Conflict Resolution Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful
Conflict resolution does not have to be difficult to managers, since much of the responsibility can be placed on the shoulders of the staff members. The manager needs to focus on keeping the process constructive and professional, which should be the main focus of management training.
This guest post was provided on behalf Dale Carnegie’s management training program. They provide exceptional coaching & training services to businesses of all sizes. For more information visit, http://dalecarnegie.ca/People.aspx?pid=85