The most hectic things for managers and leaders are handling difficult employees and resolving conflicts. I recently met a few difficult employees and realized that it’s a pain in the neck.
Unfortunately, difficult employees and conflicts exist in all workplaces. You can’t get rid of them. So all managers and leaders should learn dispute management to run the organization smoothly.
Some team leaders find it the most difficult part of their job, but It’s not hard to resolve conflicts in the workplace; there are some authentic conflict resolution strategies that we have discussed below.
First of all, you should understand why conflicts exist. Does this mean you work with the wrong people or have bad employees?
Conflicts between two people or groups can occur due to personality, working style differences, or communication gaps. So you must sort out what’s causing the conflict and how to solve the issue without making harsh decisions.
Here are three conflict resolution strategies that leaders and managers use. There first two steps discussed below are essential for all three strategies.
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Prepare to solve the conflict.
The first step to resolving any workplace conflict is preparing for it. You can’t make unbiased and impartial decisions if you are not well prepared.
So in the first step, you should listen to both (persons or groups) separately. Take them in confidence and ask them to tell the truth.
Here is what most managers make a mistake in the step.
Managers often label employees based on their earlier performance and conflicts. Let’s say they assume that Tony is a problematic employee; he must be creating trouble. You can’t reach out to the truth if you believe something earlier.
I have experienced that some difficult employees change with coaching and counseling, so if you have labeled someone, he might have changed, and your poor decision might impact his attitude again.
Find the root cause behind the dispute.
In this step, you realize what’s creating trouble. There could be many problems, but the most common two issues that usually develop conflicts are lack of communication and different work styles.
Most of the time, you will realize that as both parties didn’t share their opinions appropriately, they never discussed their expectations with one another, that’s causing trouble.
Sometimes, employees have interprofessional collaboration issues. As they have a common goal to achieve and depend on one another, one party is causing the trouble.
For instance, Oliver has to complete its data entry work, and then Sophia can use the data for her business analytics job. Either Sophia is forcing Oliver to do it before the assigned time, or Oliver is not delivering work on time.
The third big problem that causes conflicts is different departmental opinions.
For instance, your technical department has updated your current software; it has some benefits in the long run. But they are unable to convince the other departments to implement it.
Strategy# 1. Bridge communication gaps.
Once you are clear about the issue, you have the root cause; you can efficiently resolve the conflicts.
If the conflicts are due to misinformation or communication gaps, it’s the right time to bridge the communication gaps at work.
You can now call both parties; first, ensure that you are unbiased and want to remove the issues positively.
Many researchers have suggested putting the positive side of both parties in front of others. Make them realize that the conflict is due to misinformation or a communication gap.
For instance, if I was trying to overcome the communication gap, I might have started this way; as both employees or groups didn’t share their opinions or expectations, that’s why the conflict began.
As an observer, I see that both parties’ stance is correct. Both can respect each other perspective with minor improvements in working style.
This way, both parties will take the conflict on a lighter note.
Staying positive and clear about your ultimate goal will get you the best results.
Strategy #2: Set strict rules for interprofessional collaborations.
There should be some strict rules when two employees or groups collaborate.
For instance, if one team is not delivering work on time, they must be imposed a fine. You can do it because the team is causing huge trouble for the dependent team and the company.
Even though such conflicts are minor, such conflicts cause mental trouble for some employees. It can overburden the good employees or might disturb their mental peace.
Imposing a fine will not make both parties punctual and less problematic.
Strategy #3. Align employees’ interests with company values and goals.
Here is the last strategy that helps you resolve conflicts.
Especially among executives and managers, both parties are loyal employees and have their best opinions for companies’ growth but don’t overlap. You can align their ideas with the company’s values and goals.
It’s a coaching or counseling process where you remind people of the bigger picture. It’s a lengthy process; it requires deep-rooted research and appropriate conversations with both teams to decide how to convince both parties to collaborate and align with the company’s goals.
Leaders usually handle the issue with external consultants. It’s even better to offer this job to outside consultants who have decades of research on resolving conflicts in the workplace.
How a manager should handle conflict between employees?
It’s a 3 steps process to handle conflict between employees: find the root cause, bridge the communication gap, and set strict rules for interprofessional collaborations.