Your team is composed of a variety of different personalities — and sometimes those personalities clash. When there’s tension between two employees, your entire staff is affected.
Not only does the friction create an uncomfortable work environment, it can also make it hard for everyone to do their jobs properly. Ideally, people would be able to resolve their own issues, but it doesn’t always work that way. As the boss, it’s your job to step in if it’s clear they’re not going to settle the matter themselves anytime soon.
5 Steps to Handle Employee Conflicts
Take Action Quickly
It’s important to nip the conflict in the bud as quickly as possible to minimize business disruption. The longer it festers, the bigger it will become. Other employees will likely get involved if the matter starts to dominate workplace conversation, which will make things even worse.
Call both parties into your office to discuss the disagreement together in a private setting. This will allow you to get a handle on the situation quickly, while sending the message this type of behavior won’t fly under the radar.
Listen to Both Sides of the Story
Give each employee the floor to explain their take on what happened. Ask the other person to remain quiet while their peer is speaking, even if they disagree with what’s being said.
After you’ve heard both versions, you’ll have a better grasp on the matter. It might be challenging, but resist the urge to take sides — unless of course one employee has done something highly unethical, which is an entirely different story — because you’re the boss. You’re there to help resolve the issue, not make one person feel alienated.
Get to the Root of the Problem
On the surface, employees might be feuding about one issue, but there might be more to it. Sometimes you have to do a little detective work to figure out what’s really going on. This is the only way to truly put the conflict to bed for good, because quickly patching the solution will inevitably lead to another eruption.
Work Together to Find a Solution
When you determine what’s really going on, you’ll be in a position to create positive change. Rather than simply telling the employees what they need to do to improve their working relationship, involve them in the conversation. Ask each person what their ideal end result is, then work together to reach a compromise that works for everyone.
End the Meeting on a Positive Note
Getting the two employees together for a discussion should be a major step forward. Hopefully, they’ll be able to take everything learned during the meeting back to their jobs and use it to overcome their differences. Encouraging them to end the meeting with a smile and a handshake is a great way set the tone for a different relationship moving forward.
Need help? Contact the team at ECS.
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