November 25, 2016
As a manager, you have a lot of different titles such as ‘leader’, ‘role model’ and ‘boss’. However, a very important title that you will at some point be required to act on is that of ‘peacekeeper’.
Being a peacekeeper is one of the more challenging roles which requires negotiation skills, patience and knowing how to effectively communicate to your employees. A workplace can quickly become a toxic environment if managers allow conflict to fester, rather than face it immediately.
When conflict arises between employees, managers must be expected to address and minimise conflict, so below are our top tips on how to deal with employee conflict within your workplace.
Under no circumstances should you only listen to one employee, or even worse, the workplace gossip streams. Of course, sometimes by the time you get involved in the incident other employees within the workplace want to put their two cents in. Ensure that your first point of contact is to have a confidential conversation with the employees who are directly involved in the conflict, before focusing on other staff members.
Request that both employees explain their side of the story, and their reasons as to how and why the conflict has occurred. It may be best practice to do this individually, rather than at the same time. If you do decide to have a conversation with both the employees at the same time, ensure that each employee has the opportunity to speak, and then ask for their ideas and solutions to how to amend the situation.
There are many reasons as to why conflict may arise between two employees including poor communication, inadequate training, personality clashes or discrimination. Unfortunately conflict is inevitable in any situation where people spend extended periods of time together – such as a workplace. This is why as a manager you need to know the root of the problem, so you can address it as soon as possible, before it affects your business’s productivity.
Employees often know how they would like a conflict to be resolved. Allow them to put forward their proposed ideas, and work with them to find a solution that works for everyone.
After a specified period of time, be sure to check in with both the employees to see whether or not the situation has been resolved, or if another solution needs to be implemented. However, this does not mean you can leave the employees to sort through their conflict resolution by themselves. As a manager you must keep a close eye on the employees, and be ready to react if you see that the solution is not working.
In some instances the conflict may not just be a clashing of personalities, but could be classified as misconduct or harassment. Employee handbooks may include a conflict resolution policy, which stipulates how employee conflict should be addressed within your business.
Conflict amongst employees can directly affect a business’s productivity and working culture, which is why is it important that managers know how best to address conflict if it arises. As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist Employsure can work with you to resolve conflicts or dispute in your workplace, or answer any questions you may have. Call us today on 1300 651 415 to speak to one of our knowledgeable staff.
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