A conflict at work is inevitable at one time or another.
Whether it is between yourself and another employee or between other colleagues, different attitudes and opinions mean that a disagreement is bound to come up.
Although some leaders balk at disagreements in the workplace and ignore any that come up, this can be a great opportunity to explore different points of view, connect and strengthen rather than break relationships.
Prepare for mediation with your team with the following steps:
Let Employees Know What To Expect
Your employees may be nervous about what mediation may mean, and may be scared that their job may be on the line if they are found to be at fault for the conflict.
It is up to the manager to let employees know what to expect from a mediation session.
Start by explaining that this is done for the best interest of the team with the purpose of finding an amicable resolution.
Let your employees know that an impartial person will lead a conversation with the aim to help all parties involved really understand each other’s point of view, help to find underlying issues and suggest problem resolution solutions.
If the people involved realise that the mediator will not make any judgements, they will feel more at ease.
Describe the process of the mediation, whether the mediator will speak to each person one-on-one or as a group and what will happen if a solution can’t be reached (employees reassigned to different teams or encouraged to take problem-solving seminars).
Ask The Employees To Summarise Their Main Points
When recounting a stressful event or describing a situation where they felt disrespected, individuals tend to get emotional and may not get their point across in the best way possible.
To help your team present their thoughts and emotions regarding the dispute, ask them to write down their main points about what has transpired.
Although they don’t have to get extremely detailed, notating what they want to say will help them to stay on point, be able to clearly outline their concerns and present a clear picture to the mediator.
Plan For Logistics
Consider the logistics of the mediation and how that may impact the working day.
As the event is likely to be stressful for those involved, they may not be very productive if they will have to work prior to the meeting.
You may consider having them come in late so that they can get enough sleep, eat a healthy breakfast and exercise or meditate to manage stress levels.
Will the team need back-up to answer phones, provide customer service or finish tasks while the mediation is taking place?
If you have a large workforce, you may have enough people to provide coverage; but if your team is small, you may need to adjust office hours or hire temps.
If the mediation is not successful, the employees may benefit from going home early to decompress instead of working alongside the person(s) they are in disagreement with that day.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 14 July, 2017
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