Posted on: July 12th, 2017
Two people at your business are mad at each other. As soon as you read that, a few likely suspects popped into your mind. Unfortunately, when you get a group of diverse personalities together, you’re going to have conflict.
When you’re the boss, the last thing you need is to deal with employee bickering. Hurt feelings and drama spread like wildfire, and other employees start to take sides. Here are some tips for restoring peace.
Start Before There’s Conflict
Add policies to your handbook that explain how employees are expected to communicate with each other. Include conduct guidelines and conduct resolution policies. Make it required reading whenever you hire someone new. Get a signed acknowledgement once they’ve read it. Provide employees a process for voicing concerns.
Post your code of ethics on the wall, where everyone can see it. Review it periodically during company meetings.
Don’t Rush In
Encourage your employees to work things out themselves first. Then give them space to do it.
As soon as you hear there’s conflict, evaluate how serious the situation is by talking to each person individually. You don’t need to hear all the details, just take the emotional temperature of the conflict and let them know you’re aware of the situation. Encourage them to work it out and offer guidance only if you feel they need it.
Or Do Rush In
Sometimes, you can tell a situation is escalating quickly. Tempers flare and nobody is working anything out. Instead of working things out, they’re starting to draw others into the conflict. When this happens, don’t wait. Find out what the issue is and take decisive action to shut the conflict down before it’s out of control.
Hear Both Sides
You can’t make people get along. But you can ensure that they feel heard. Sit down with both parties and establish ground rules for communication. Allow each employee time to share their point of view without being interrupted. Then, allow each employee to share what they think needs to happen to resolve the situation.
If you keep having issues with your staff, they may need you to provide them with resources and skills. Problem solving training can help them learn better communication skills. If everyone takes the training together, you have a common communication framework in the future.
Take Serious Problems Seriously
If the conflict involves harassment or bullying, don’t tolerate that kind of behavior. Follow the steps outlined in your employee handbook immediately.
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