The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
~Thomas Paine

Employee conflict is inevitable. Put a group of people together and it’s not uncommon for the myriad of personalities to clash from time-to-time. Your main priority when this happens is to manage the employee disagreement without escalating the situation.

Monitoring Employee Disagreements:

Your first duty to managing employee disagreements is to monitor the situation. Even if the dispute seems petty, be aware of what is going on. Keep your eyes and ears on the situation. The employees involved may be able to come to a resolution on their own. In fact, it’s often better if they can come to an understanding on their own; however, if it begins to negatively impact their performance or if there’s a danger the situation may escalate, you’ll want to quickly step in.

Mediation in Employee Disagreements:

If the employee disagreement lingers or escalates, it’s time for you to step in. However, at this point, it’s not your job to make a decision for them. As a mediator, set up a neutral location for the parties involved to discuss the dispute. Set ground rules (such as taking turns speaking) and help everyone involved express their side of the disagreement to one another. Give each party equal time to speak. Let them brainstorm ideas for resolution – something that creates a compromise amongst the parties.

Resolution of Employee Disagreements:

Sometimes an employee disagreement simply can’t come to a resolution by the employees on their own, even with the help of a mediator. This is where you, as the manager, must step in. It is your duty to protect the best interests of your organization, and to come up with a solution to the conflict that is the best strategically for your company. If possible, try to come up with a win-win situation for everyone. This may not be possible though, and it may mean one party is more satisfied with the resolution than the other, or it may mean both parties are unhappy. However, present the solution based on facts and why it’s in the best interest of the organization, and therefore in the best interest of all employees.

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.