Being the boss isn’t easy — especially when you have two employees who aren’t getting along. This can quickly cause tension for everyone, along with a decline in productivity, so knowing how to properly handle the situation is a must.
Every disagreement is different, so it’s important to stay on top of employee feuds. However, you might not always need to get involved. Here’s a guide to help you through it.
5 Tips to Deal With Workplace Conflict
Get to the Root of the Issue
Some disputes are more serious than others. It’s important to understand what your employees are arguing about, so you know if you need to step in immediately.
For example, anything that could be viewed as an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC) issue — i.e., harassment or discrimination — requires your immediate attention. However, a spat regarding creative differences of opinion probably does not.
Try to Stay (Mostly) Out of It
It’s best for employees to settle disagreements themselves, instead of having you step in. They’re adults who should be able to find common ground, and your input could ultimately make things worse, if one employee feels like you’re taking the other’s side.
You might need to give the employees a few tips to help them calmly discuss the issue, but avoid getting too involved. Giving them the tools and encouragement to work things out on their own will help them handle differences of opinion better in the future.
Put a Stop to the Drama Quickly
Conflict that starts between two employees tends to make its way out into the group. As noted above, this can cause tension for everyone and a decline in productivity, so don’t allow it to rage on. As soon as you realize trouble is brewing, talk to the employees in question and tell them they need to nip it in the bud.
Make Each Person Feel Heard
Unfortunately, all employee arguments won’t be settled independently. Sometimes you will need to step in, so it’s important to remain neutral.
Take the arguing employees aside and give each person the floor. Allow them to speak uninterrupted, so both you and their colleague understands where they’re coming from. This will allow you to determine the underlying issue fueling the argument.
Find a Solution That Works for Everyone
After identifying the root of the matter, work with the employees to find common ground. This will likely require some compromise from both sides, but that’s fine, as long as you can reach an agreement everyone feels is fair. Encourage employees to try to work any future issues out themselves, before coming to you.
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