How to manage employee conflict

Conflict is an everyday phenomenon within the workplace and has the ability to boost or halt any momentum within a team, division or organisation. If conflict is allowed to continue and build and can create a negative organisational culture that becomes contagious.

It can be challenging to try and find the source of the conflict or to discuss it with others in the workplace as they may not be willing to divulge information out of fear or it could trigger a negative reaction that spreads quickly throughout the team. Respect is of upmost importance in this instance and that is why dealing with it swiftly and honestly is the best course of action.

Confronting conflict head on is the right way to go about it however there are a few things to keep in mind when doing so.

Timing

The timing of the confrontation is important as you simply cannot accuse employees of any wrongdoings without the evidence to back it up. Investigating the source of the problem and asking everyone within the team or division is important. However, as soon as adequate information has been found a quick course of action is necessary.

Know the boundaries

Everyone deals with conflict differently and some employees may not understand that they are causing frustration or other issues within the team. This is where knowing your employees limitations and their behaviours is important. You want to be able to deal with them in the fairest way possible so understanding them as a person will enable you to talk to them about it in a constructive manner whilst empowering them to perform to a higher and more inclusive manner.

Respect differences

Not all conflict is necessarily bad and it isn’t always a case of right and wrong. Try to understand the different points of view that are being discussed so that a civilised solution can be found. There will be many instances where both parties may be right but a frustrating failure to understand each other has led to conflict. Try to help employees understand each other better to avoid further conflict.

Act quickly

Whilst the conflict may not necessarily be resolved in an instant, reducing the tension within the team of division is important before it becomes a problem. Working through various issues may take time but ensuring a positive and team-first environment is the most important aspect to get on top of. Seek to find ways that enables employees to discuss disagreements in a more professional manner that can benefit the business.