While we all would love to have conflict-free workplaces, the fact we as humans tend to interact with each other daily means it will creep into the office in one form or another. Conflict breeds resentment, frustration, lack of work due to a host of reasons, and sometimes even affects employees’ health. As an employer, do what you can to help them deal with conflict — it will make for happier, more satisfied workers and a more effective workplace overall.
- Know them as more than employees. Even the biggest companies break down into teams and departments, and most of the time a manager or supervisor leads each one. Whatever the size of your company, make sure at least one supervisor gets to know the employees on more than a work level. This way, if a personality conflict arises, someone who knows those involved can help them work it out successfully if they need some mediation because they’ll know how best to find a compromise. And if a personal conflict arises, have resources available and do what you can to give that person the time and help they need to work it out: Personal stability helps to stabilize those around them.
- Find out their biggest work-life conflicts. Employers that recognize their employees as people who have outside needs and families they sometimes need to attend to set up policies accordingly. They allow for flexible scheduling and the occasional need to take a day off to make a doctor’s appointment/see a school play/deal with a sick relative. Those offices that have those policies in place also tend to have fewer conflicts because they’ve dealt with them ahead of time. This also means employees know they can take time if necessary but will make up the balance of their work.
- Act quickly to resolve conflicts. When employees butt heads, you don’t need to swoop in and micromanage (you’re a supervisor, not a mother); however, ignoring it in the hopes it will go away by itself won’t help either. First, speak to those involved individually and tell them you know of the conflict and encourage them to work things out on their own. Give them some suggestions if they feel wary of things escalating or saying the wrong thing. If that doesn’t go well, you may have to find a mediator. Listen to each side and deal with it before it sucks others into the drama. Identify the real issue (what they claim is the problem may underlie something bigger), and help find a solution.
Conflict will raise its head from time to time. How you respond to it — and what you do to stop it before it happens — will help your workplace run smoothly, even with the occasional bump. Partner with the local staffing specialists at Medical Professionals today for more hiring and management tips.