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Managing Conflict Resolution

It’s always preferable for employees work out small conflicts amongst themselves. We’re not talking about sexual harassment, bullying, or major disputes where management or even HR need to be involved - but smaller day-to-day conflicts that inevitably pop up at the office.

Conflict resolution is a daily occurrence. People disagree. Most often conflict and disagreements are worked out over the course of the day, by those involved, as people work together. Differing opinions are not a bad thing; they can lead to new and fresh ideas, a new way of looking at a project, or a creative way of combining and incorporating multiple suggestions. But, when conflicts arise and it’s not just an idea exchange, managers may need to get involved to return peace and harmony to the group.

  1. Deal with the issue relatively early. Give your employees a bit of time to work it out for themselves, but you’ll want to address the issue early, before it can escalate into a bigger more wide-spread problem.
  2. Let cooler heads prevail. If at all possible, don’t intervene until both parties have calmed down. Meetings and discussions won’t have a productive outcome when everyone is still upset and angry.
  3. Keep your discussion on ‘outcome goals’. Focus on behavior and resolution requirements. Do not focus on personality clashes. Discuss the situation as objectively as possible, with observable facts.
  4. Ask for solution suggestions. The parties involved surely have ideas as to how the conflict could be resolved. Be open to ideas other than your own. Set an outcome with fair resolution for all parties.
  5. Give both parties a morale boost. Let everyone involved know that they are important to the team.
  6. Follow up. Don’t hover, never micro-manage, but do observe and make sure your team knows that you will be following up to ensure everything is going smoothly for everyone involved. Your team needs to know you care about the morale and the cohesiveness of the team.