As much as we hate to admit it, everyone at some point or another brings a personal issue to work.
When personal issues start affecting professional behavior in the workplace, managers are presented with a particularly tough problem – especially when the issue is between two coworkers. It’s bound to happen, so it’s best to consider solutions now, before a problem gets out of hand.
Conflict resolution can be one of the most daunting tasks for new managers as employees look to them to solve their problems. Our Management Skills and Leadership courses both teach you how to deal with conflict in the workplace and keep things running smoothly.
Here are some suggestions for how to resolve workplace conflicts without taking sides:
Know your place
As a manager, it is important that you rise above the personal aspects of the conflict and assume nothing less than a managerial role.
Your employees look to you for guidance, and whether they are aware of it or not, you set the tone for their behavior in the office. Therefore, as tempting as it may be for you to involve yourself in the emotional side of an office dispute, you must stay level headed and strong as a leader.
The best way to resolve a conflict without taking sides is to approach it with the goal of a win-win solution.
Each involved party should walk away feeling as though they have been treated fairly and gained something positive from the resolution.
Communication skills are key to solving problems in the workplace. Work on yours with our communication skills tips.
Behind closed doors
Never attempt to resolve a workplace conflict out in the open where other, uninvolved employees are affected. Not only is this distracting to everyone in the office, but it can also inspire other employees to take sides, and may result in one party or the other feeling ganged up on.
Workplace conflicts should be handled with sensitivity, which means they should be taken to a private place where no involved party will feel an unfair office bias.
Communication is the most effective way of resolving any type of conflict, but communication often gets muddled without good mediation. Plus, when everyone’s voice is heard, it will be hard for anyone to feel as though you’ve taken sides.
Sit your conflicted employees together at a meeting table and then allow them to each take turns expressing their points of view. Then make sure the other involved parties have the chance to provide ample feedback.
You may have to get involved if the parties become heated or begin interrupting each other, but remember that it is your job to facilitate the process to a satisfactory conclusion.
As a manager, you are in the tough position of ensuring that all of your employees work together toward a common goal. Conflict in the workplace can not only dampen employee morale, but it can also seriously undermine business productivity.
Take these steps to resolve workplace conflicts while remaining impartial.
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