One of the biggest issues to deal with in the workplace are conflicts. We’re not talking out-and-out fisticuffs and brawls here but more disagreements between staff. Although disagreements will always happen when spending time with the same people, most of the time the little niggles that set in can easily be diffused if not avoided altogether.
Staff conflicts can have a big negative effect on staff morale and productivity, so it’s vital that you get the situation under control. But how exactly do you go about reaching an agreement between two members of staff with seemingly no compromise between them? Well, it’s easier than you think! Here are a few pointers from me to hopefully help you on the road to office nirvana.
- Anticipate – If you can see something coming, or a problem brewing between staff, don’t be afraid to raise the issue. Anticipate the problem arising and nip it in the bud. Call staff involved into a private meeting – either together or separately – and thrash out the issue.
- Acknowledge – Now you can see the problem, acknowledge the issue exists. In the meetings with staff, be absolutely transparent. Hide nothing and let them know that you appreciate there is an issue. At the same time, let all involved know that you will be working towards a solution that suits everyone. Don’t make anyone feel left out or belittled no matter how small their complaint or issue is. This could open up another problem so be fair.
- Analyse – Having heard each side of the story about the problem, take time to review what has been said. Read back what all staff have said and think about the best solution for all parties. Look for patterns in people’s stories as it may be something seemingly small which is causing the disagreement. Even something as silly as a lack of stationery! It could be something as trivial as that which is easily put right. If it’s something bigger which is the root of the problem apply the same strategy.
- Answer – Now you have your solution which seemingly solves each member of staff’s issues, call them into another meeting to discuss the resolution. Ask for feedback about the solution and take into account anything they may say. This may help with further tweaks to the policy which may need to be made. Once everyone is happy, agree to implement any changes and leave it at that. Monitor the situation though and get more feedback with a quiet word to see if it is working. If you’ve followed the steps and done it right, it will be!
Remember – staff get paid to work together not to like each other and this sometimes needs to be said.
So there you go- my simple solution to a seemingly simple problem which left unchecked could escalate.