Occasional conflicts are an inevitable part of working with people.
While effectively resolved conflicts can strengthen a team, unsettled
issues can become cancerous and poison your corporate culture and
employee engagement. Here are four tips for making the most of any
conflict mediation you may have to deal with.
1. Realize the problem won’t just go away
Ignoring workplace conflicts won’t make them go away: it will turn them
into a ticking time bomb. While the problem may seem to subside on its
own, without mediation, it will reemerge and explode the next time that
stress or conflict arises. Healthy relationships, personal and
professional, are built on trust and communication, and without a
definite resolution, neither of those exist.
2. Understand it’s a group problem
Because a conflict involves more than one person, it needs to be dealt
with as a group. Sitting down with the antagonists together will
streamline the mediation process and eliminate any he-said-she-said
misunderstandings. Additionally, any workplace conflict affects more
than just the two people having the dispute. Bystanders often get
dragged into the mix, forced into choosing one side or the other; with
your whole team invested in the argument, efficiency and employee
engagement will suffer a heavy blow.
3. Know the manager’s role
The manager has a vitally important role to play in the conflict
mediation process: facilitating dialogue. Let your employees know
that you believe they can resolve the conflict effectively (like adults)
and their compromise and understanding is important to you. Furthermore,
recognize that you need to own some of the responsibility for the issue.
Ask if there’s something your workplace could have done to prevent
this dispute and what you can do to prevent future problems.
4. Discuss real changes
Gather all participants in the dispute to sit down and calmly discuss
what each person needs to work effectively again. Talk about real
actions that can be taken to improve the workplace and fix the
problems, rather than just dishing out criticism. When everyone’s
opinion is heard and a plan is set in place, the result is more likely
to be an efficient and encouraging workplace.
Conflict mediation is a very real part of being a manager. It’s the
manager’s job to keep the workplace running smoothly and to take care of
his team. By effectively dealing with conflicts, you and your
employees can once again fulfill your roles driving company success.
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_Source: Susan Heathfield