Whether you manage a small or a large team, a conflict between your employees can derail the productivity of your entire department.
Although you expect your employees to be grown adults and manage their issues on their own, there are times when it is advantageous for a leader to step in and handle the situation.
Although you may feel that it is not your place, you should understand that it is a leader’s job to handle conflict in an appropriate way to upkeep a good corporate culture and promote positive teamwork.
Create a Safe Space
Oftentimes, conflict arises out of miscommunication.
There are office politics in every workplace, and employees often feel scared to voice their opinion, lest it affect their employment.
However, effective managers must understand that employees must be given a safe space to state their beliefs and opinions without fear of being reprimanded.
This will allow those that work for you the time and space to have open communication and resolve their differences in a positive way.
Focus on “I” Statements
During conflict, people’s feelings are often hurt and they tend to assign blame to other parties.
A conversation is not very productive when it’s focused on another person.
This is why managers should teach their employees to speak about their feelings, instead of assuming things about others.
When a person is able to say: “I was hurt when you said I didn’t know how to complete a project,” it lets them be humble and show their true selves to others.
This is much better than saying: “You were so rude when you said I didn’t know how to complete a project.”
A simple rephrasing of a similar idea can do the trick and helping two or more people resolve their issues.
Find Common Ground
The truth is that it’s not often possible to get two people to agree on a mutual solution, or get one person to admit their mistakes to another person.
However, with the management’s help, employees can agree that they must resolve the conflict in order to work together in a positive environment.
Leaders can work with their employees to find common ground within the conflict, such as some areas that both parties can agree on, even if they cannot agree on the bigger idea.
When helping employees ultimately agree that they are on the same team, they will find ways to either agree to disagree or move forward in a professional manner.
Senior Management Trainer and Consultant