Managing Conflict Among Your Employees

As a business owner or executive, you are likely focused on hiring talented and passionate employees and keeping them engaged in your business’s mission. But when a group of bright and committed people work closely together, conflict can happen at times. Conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if it isn’t managed effectively, the unresolved conflict could escalate and have a detrimental impact on an organization. It can lead to a breakdown in communication, lowered productivity, a tense and stressful work environment and even the loss of some great employees. It’s extremely important to address and resolve any employee issues before the entire team is affected. Here are some of the things to do and not do when handling conflict in the workplace.

DO Define Your Expectations
Reduce unnecessary conflict by answering these questions in advance: Does each person in your organization understand his or her role and have a written job description that defines responsibilities? Have you communicated how your employees should handle conflicts prior to any escalation, and what types of behavior are unacceptable? And, do employees know who to go for help?

DO Develop Your Team’s Conflict Resolution Skills
One way to help your employees effectively handle conflict is to give them the proper tools and training on how to handle common situations. At Oasis, we offer eLearning classes for our clients and their employees covering a number of topics including conflict resolution, communication skills and more. It may seem silly at first, but role-playing exercises can help employees walk through how they would handle a difficult situation. Help your employees gain knowledge on listening and communicating effectively with their peers to resolve conflict quickly.

DON’T Play Favorites
As a manager or leader in your organization, if a conflict is brought to your attention, you must look at the issue objectively. Your goal is to do what is best for the company regardless of your relationship with either employee in the conflict. Try to view the situation from all sides and come up with a solution that is fair for both parties.

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