Conflict is at times an unavoidable part of any company. With different personalities and individual’s belief systems there is bound to be some friction. It is integral to deal with issue quickly and efficiently where both parties feel that they win so productivity and performance is minimally affected.
It is not a matter of diffusing a situation but actually dealing with it, that way the chance of the same issue resurfacing at a later date is less likely and resentment, disillusionment and lack of faith in the leadership group and company from staff will not become an agenda.
During my time lecturing in tertiary education the leadership group was giving training dealing with staff conflict. The training consisted with methods to avoid the issue presented by staff. One example, if staff had an issue and approached their department head; they were told to write a letter stating the issue email it and then a meeting will be organised to discuss the issue. (The meeting would not be organised unless the staff member pursued the issue and it would be scheduled at a time that that was not favourable; like Friday 5pm). Every method possible was used to avoid the issue and hope it would go away because staff would be so frustrated with the process that they would not bother. This just made the issues worse and most of the high performing staff left in droves because they were disheartened with the organisation.
You may push someone who cares about their job to the point they no longer do and it is a rare occurrence to win them over again. Your intention and perception entering a meeting will be a major factor in how the situation can be dealt with having a preconceived idea of what to say or do, can affect the ability of being diplomatic and truly understanding the situation and resolve it.
Don’t jump to conclusions, review the facts. Emotions can be running high and the feelings felt by those involved can also be from a past situation that staff haven’t resolved and are unable to control their feelings and are acting out of raw emotion than a place of logic.
Avoid arguing, admit wrong doing if it is true.
Things to consider and questions to ask to improve possibilities of resolution.
- Where to sit; Where you sit during discussion can open dialogue and ease tension.
- HR sitting in on meeting taking minutes.
- What do the staff with the issue want to happen- and explain the consequences if those actions are taking or they may even give a unique perspective for resolution.
- Ask both parties how they can move past this and how they can better work together. If one of them refuses they are usually the issue.
- Question other staff that may have insight into the issue. (Make sure the input is congruent)
- Review methods and procedures to avoid the same issue from reoccurring.
- Invest in self-development, for both staff and managers. If the leadership group won’t participate the self- development you give staff will be useless.
There are many other things to consider and implement depending on scenario. The list above will be a good start.
Cheers to your success.