Even in the most peaceful business environment, conflict is, at some time, inevitable. At times, people will disagree and, when you consider the passion with which people pursue their careers, these disagreements may turn into conflicts. As a manager or supervisor, it is your job to resolve such issues in a manner that benefits the company. Here are four important steps to resolving workplace conflicts, if they occur between two members of your workforce.
• Do not delay
As soon as you have noticed a serious issue, do not rest on your laurels. By leaving the issue to fester, you can only make it worse. In fact, if you don't step in soon, a relatively minor grievance between two workers can boil over into a major company issue as other members of staff are sucked into the situation.
• Have a private meeting with both members of staff
In order to tackle this situation, you are best off discussing the issue, separately, with both involved parties in a private location (your office should be fine). You do not want to either drag the issue out in front of the entire workforce or show favouritism to either person. Get both of their opinions on what is going on and give them time to put across both sides of the story.
• Deliberate but do not blame
Your job is not to find out who is to blame for the issue but to come to a conclusion about the fairest way for it to be curtailed. This is the most important thing – that you no longer have to worry about a conflict in your workforce affecting your business. It might be the case that everything can be resolved with a handshake. It might be the case that discipline needs to be issued. Either way, your decision should be based only on what is best for the company.
• Be confident in your decision
If you need to discipline either of the involved staff members, it is important for you to do so with complete confidence. Do not feel the need to talk constantly or fill in awkward pauses in the conversation. Be firm, be fair and have faith in your decision.