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Essential Steps to Resolving Workplace Conflicts

When individuals, who often come from diverse backgrounds and work experiences, are placed into to a work environment, sometimes conflicts and disputes can result in the workplace through a variety of reasons.

Workplace conflict has long been a major concern for businesses and companies across all industries. Not only does conflict in the workplace lead to employee stress (particularly if its but when overlooked or left unresolved for extended periods), the conflict also affects the overall business productivity and performance.

As a simple reminder, the following points provide guidance to managers and supervisors confronted with employee conflicts at work.

Do not ignore

The very first thing you need to do as soon as you get aware of the presence of possible conflict in your workplace, is not to overlook the situation.

No matter how small the issue or which employees are involved, a conflict must be given immediate attention and acted upon promptly.

Investigate thoroughly

Taking immediate action doesn’t mean reaching a conclusion instantly. Before you plunge into a solution for the conflict, probe the issues, test assumptions and information, cross check views.

Drawing on the experience from similar situations in the past (including discussing the matters with a third party or colleague), determine options in relation to a suitable approach to be taken to deal with the issue.

Confront the concerned employees separately

If the situation requires it, arrange for separate meetings with the involved parties to get a clear understanding of the issue from their perspective before you try to mediate.

Getting to know each side of story and perceptions of both the parties helps you make an informed and fair decision and find possible common ground for the parties to that might lead to a positive resolution.

Meet with both parties together

If it is assessed as being beneficial, when you’re done with separate meetings, you might bring that parties together to jointly explore their issues and express to each other what they see as the way forward.

Summarise key facts

After you have met, it’s time to extract and confirm key points from your inquiries and interviews with those involved.

While you summarise the situation, it is important to pay heed to each individual or party’s needs and concerns so as to avoid making any unsubstantiated conclusions.

Check if people are satisfied

Before concluding the process, seek to ensure that those involved are satisfied and have met their needs and expectations.

The final word

These simple steps can be quite helpful in resolving short-term workplace disputes that involve only small numbers of employees.

Sometimes however, the nature and depth of the conflict means that the concerns are best dealt by experienced external mediators.

Engaging experienced workplace mediation consultants provides you with access to a breath and depth of experience that is not usually available ‘in house’ and usually results in quick and positive progress towards a workable result that is sustainable over time.