Resolving employee disputes can be a sensitive job. As a manager, it can be hard to stay neutral in a conflict that affects company production and your employee’s happiness. Here are some strategies that you can implement when managing employee disputes.
Observe what is happening.
Before diving in and trying to work out a dispute, take a step back and observe what is going on. A dispute can be as simple as two employees with different personalities clashing. It may be as complicated as two employees sniping at each other, while another employee seemingly on the sidelines feeds the flames.
So, before getting involved in the nitty-gritty of dispute management, head over to the employee’s offices and observe as discretely as possible.
It can be hard to stay unbiased in the workplace. We usually like the people we work with and consider them friends. However, when you go about listening to the issues each employee has with the other and talking to those who work with the two upset employees, try to stay as unbiased as possible. Ask employees to communicate the challenges they are facing with as many facts as possible, leaving out the suppositions and personal feeling.
Ask for details in writing
One way to keep personal feelings out of things is to get all of the information in writing. When a dispute occurs, ask each party involved to provide you with a written report of the facts involved in the dispute. Sometimes, simply seeing the facts laid out in writing can help an employee see where he or she miscommunicated and the dispute can easily be cleared up from there.
Talk to all sides
Discuss the dispute with every person involved personally. Once you have seen the written reports and done your observation, your objective and impartial stance can help each side resolve their issue more rapidly.
Continue to monitor
After a dispute has been resolved, keep an eye on the area and people involved. It is rare that a dispute is just between two people in an office. When you are working in a tight-knit group, there are often dispute instigators that will rile up employees to see what will happen. If there is an area that continues to be volatile, look for additional people behind the scenes, fanning the flames.
Dispute resolution can be made simple with rapid response, external observation, written reports, and continued monitoring. Don’t be surprised if you find a dispute instigator fanning the flames. Once their behavior has been sorted out or once they have been removed from the area, your dispute management skills may no longer be required.
If your office is suffering due to growing pains, staffing issues, or lack of teamwork, we are here to help. Business Success Consulting Group works with companies to resolve HR issues, work with managers, and increase efficiency and teamwork. Contact us today.