It’s a common scenario in the workplace: An ongoing dispute between two employees. Left unchecked it can split your whole unit into factions. And your workers may be looking at everything you do in terms of which side you seem to favor.
Here are some guidelines that can help you address employee conflicts in a positive, effective manner.
1. Act immediately. As soon as you’re aware that a disruptive conflict exists, talk to the employees involved. Explain that their disagreement is getting in the way of their job performance, and that you want to help them find a long-term solution.
2. Reaffirm your faith in both employees. Make sure they understand that they are equally important to you, and that you are counting on their cooperation in overcoming their personal disagreement.
3. Listen to their problems. Get a clear understanding of both sides and don’t let yourself get drawn into the conflict to the point where you give the appearance of favoring one side.
4. Identify the issues and find a solution. Make sure each party is aware of what irritates the other. Determine points of agreement and encourage them to trade concessions. Put the agreement in writing and get them to sign it.
5. Establish the consequences of future conflict. While showing your appreciation for their cooperation in this session, spell out the results of noncompliance.
6. Follow up frequently. Thank them for their continued cooperation, and let them know you are still holding them responsible for honoring their agreement.