Workplace conflicts between managers and employees are common. The difference between resolving conflict and total office chaos is whether or not you take swift action to handle the matter or choose to ignore it.
Handling conflicts with subordinates can be uncomfortable for company heads, however, ignorance will only add fuel to the fire. An alternative approach is to take immediate action to rectify the problem.
Good leaders are adept at conflict resolution and approach each matter head-on. Here are a few tips to consider that can help.
Conflict Resolution Tips
If you set up good office standards, training, and coaching, you can lessen conflicts in your office.
1. Timing: Know when to act. The sooner the better; waiting too long to act will exacerbate the problem and disrupt production and staff performance.
2. Respect differences: Employees on your team are individuals with unique points of view, varied backgrounds, religions, and opinions. Begin to adjust your perspective to align with today’s multi-cultural and multi-generational environment.
3. Listen to the employee ‘s point of view without checking your email, fiddling with your cell phone or glancing at the clock. Respect should be reciprocal. Focus on what your employee is saying, not on what you’ll say next.
4. Stick to the facts: Agreement is not always easy, especially when a personality clash is present. However, if you stick to the facts and keep your personal feelings at bay, it will be much easier to reach an agreement or understanding.
5. Prevent legal action: To avoid legal action, do not turn your back on difficult team members, no matter how much they get under your skin. Always treat staff with respect and put personal feelings aside.
Conflict Cheat Sheet
Here a few scenarios you may face as you confront difficult employees.
Silence. If this employee is silent while in your office, don’t assume he is being dismissive; he may just be fearful. Say something to break the tension to make him feel at ease and emphasize you are there to help.
Crying. This person is fragile and didn’t think someone would catch her slacking. Be sympathetic and state you are there to help and to rectify the problem.
Nervous laughter. Don’t assume the employee is making light of the matter. Many people laugh in stressful circumstances; don’t overreact to the laughing but be firm and assure him you want to correct the situation.
Anger. If the employee becomes defensive, makes excuses, and intimates you are wrong for accusing her, stay calm and explain the problem with specifics.
Sorrow. Although apologies may be sincere, be careful not to let him off the hook too easily. Discuss the problem and solution with a commitment from the team member.
In conclusion, you can make the best of a potentially explosive situation if you pre-plan a strategy before you meet.
Always approach workers with respect, intently listen without judgment and distractions, stick to facts without your personal feelings, and prepare your next steps and solutions.
Conflict resolution is a honed skill that successful company leaders have and a proven tool to resolve workplace problems.
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