You don’t want to be caught in the middle of a dispute when in the workplace. Whether it’s between workers, employees against the manager or even an issue existing between the senior level staff, conflict can be a sensitive issue. That’s why if you have conflict arising in the workplace, you need to carefully handle it so that it doesn’t escalate.
The following are practical strategies to respond to conflict that may arise:
– Focus on the behaviour and events as opposed to personalities. Rather than generalising a behaviour as the problem, discuss what went wrong in the specific situation.
– Listen to what both parties are saying. Both people might have different perspectives on what went wrong and there may be validity to both sides. Clarify the situation in detail with both parties separately before you discuss it with them together.
– Identify the points of agreement and disagreement. The points that individuals agree on will help establish some understanding, and disagreements could help create potential solutions.
– Prioritise which aspects of the argument need to be dealt with the most and address those first. Minor disagreements can be settled over time but major ones should not be set aside.
– Develop a plan for each individual to work on to resolve that conflict. Setting a time frame and goal for what you expect to achieve out of the plan for both parties will help follow-up assessments of the situation.
– Follow through with your plan by ensuring that the conflict has been resolved over time. This could involve talking to both parties about their perspective on the matter and checking whether the source of conflict has been addressed.
Not every conflict can be approached in the same manner. Different circumstances, conditions and more can impact how a conflict may need to be resolved. Make sure you understand the situation and listen to the individuals involved carefully before deciding how you will respond.