In every office, there are numerous unique personalities. Because of this, it is almost a guarantee that there will be conflicts between coworkers. Most disagreements will be worked out between staff members without any need of intervention. However, there may be circumstances that call for the involvement of management or a human resources specialist. Knowing in advance what to do to settle such differences will benefit your entire office in the long run.
Speak to both parties at the same time, so that there can be no accusations of favoritism. State that you are impartial and simply there to mediate and hear both sides of the issue. If you are in management, you may want to ask a third party to come in as mediator so that you can listen and make a final decision if necessary.
Call out instigators on the spot. If you notice someone talking behind a coworker's back or acting in another manner that is not beneficial to your company, do not let it slide. This is especially important if the employee displaying such behavior has a history of initiating problems.
Ask questions without making accusations. Saying something like, "You seem stressed out, and I am concerned about you. Can you tell me what you feel is happening?" lets your staff member know that you care what is happening and want to help. This means he will be more likely to listen to your input and not immediately put up his defensive side.
Discover any underlying issues. If employees are arguing over use of the copier, it is likely that there is something more going on. By resolving a deeper conflict, you might deter future disagreements.
Request thoughts and suggestions from both sides as to what they each believe will solve their respective differences. Set a deadline for the resolution and offer compromises.
Tips & Warnings
- Setting rules and standards before conflicts begin will help you end them fairly and quickly.
- Incorporate team-building activities to foster a sense of unity.
- Don't allow consistent troublemakers to bring down your business.
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