First things first, workplace disagreements are an important part of your business’ growth. According to Houston Chronicle’s Chron website for business resources, conflicts between employees is only a problem when supervisors fail to manage the conflict effectively.
In truth, disagreements are completely normal any workplace. An employee is usually more productive when they feel their voice is heard, especially when they don’t share the popular opinion. Diverse opinions encourage innovation, and that debate leads to more effective business decisions. Welcome workplace conflict with the following tips.
When does healthy debate turn into a problem?
The challenge with allowing healthy debate between employees is to know when to draw the line. According to experts interviewed by Forbes, there are some things you can look for to determine when it’s time to step in.
- Disagreements become personal and insults are being used
- Employees are considering quitting
- The conflict is dragging down team morale
Resolve workplace conflict with communication
The Society for Human Resource Management recommends that you and your management team learn to act as mediators between conflicted employees. With the right communication techniques, you can often walk employees through conflict resolution with positive results. To do this, you should:
- Schedule a private meeting in a neutral space
- Give each employee the opportunity to tell their view of the situation, focusing on their own feelings instead of accusations
- Encourage the employees to attempt to find middle ground
- Have each employee repeat back what they understood from the other
- Sum up both sides in your own words to help the employees find the source of conflict
- Ensure the parties agree on the source of the conflict
- Make a list of possible solutions
- Encourage solutions that will have positive outcomes for both parties
- Have the employees thank one another for engaging in the conflict resolution process
Is outside help necessary?
In most cases, workplace conflicts can be resolved internally. If you’re concerned a professional mediator is needed, here are some key instances to look out for:
- A dispute involving legal issues such as discrimination
- Recurring conflicts between the same team leaders
- Patterns of disagreements on the same topics
- Escalation to personal attacks or harassment
Expert mediators say major workplace disagreements can be devastating to a business’ bottom line. For that reason, it’s important you look out for signs of a serious conflict and mediate the problem as soon as possible.