Disputes among coworkers are one of the biggest causes of professional deterioration. Interpersonal conflicts can ruin the atmosphere within companies and even jeopardize entire businesses if not handled properly. On average, each employee spends more than two hours a week in some sort of conflict management, which in total generates millions of unproductive work days annually.
This fact is an enormous burden for team managers, who need to detect problems and solve them in a timely manner. It’s always a delicate mediation process which has a few rules of its own. In this article, we are going to describe the 6 best techniques to manage disagreements in your team.
How to Handle Interpersonal Conflicts
Workplace conflicts have a negative impact on everyday processes in the company and reduce performance, motivation, satisfaction, and retention. According to many HR experts from the top writing services, managers should embrace conflicts as natural elements of the work process and use them to improve their teams’ productivity.
Here are 6 strategies that can help you in that regard:
Team managers spend approximately 30% of their time solving internal conflicts. This means that you have to keep your eyes open all the time and monitor the situation in the group. Chances are you’ll run into personal disagreements more often than you would like to, so don’t lose focus.
The best way to solve the problem is to detect it on time, when things still aren’t too complicated. This will minimize the damage and allow you to resolve disputes much easier. You are the leader of your team, which means that full concentration is the basic precondition for good results.
The first thing you should do while managing disagreements is to organize a meeting with colleagues who initiated an argument. You must let them know that you won’t tolerate destructive conflicts in your team, which is also a good prevention model for other members of the group.
Of course, many quarrels demand special attention and monitoring, so you’ll have to organize several meetings to track the progress. Be patient and don’t give up until you seal the deal. This kind of persistence in conflict management will prove that you keep things under control and don’t allow anarchy in the unit.
Understand Starting Positions
Troubles in the office can occur because of the personal intolerance or professional disagreements. If your employees don’t like each other, the solution is simple – they don’t have to hang out together but they must cooperate whenever necessary. They just need to respect the natural minimum of decent behavior in the office under your supervision.
In case they disagree on a professional level, you need to hear both sides, analyze their arguments, and make a decision. It basically means that you must understand their starting positions and what caused the dispute in the first place. Since you are the person in charge here, it is up to you to determine whose arguments make more sense.
Stay Away from Personal Accusations
This may sound like a repetition but it’s the essential element of crisis management. Warring egos and personality clashes initiate conflicts in almost 90% of all cases. As a team manager, your job is to stay away from personal accusations and ad hominem attacks, reducing debates only to professional issues. Stay objective and exercise a simple logic – who gave you better proofs and arguments, whose conclusions make more sense, and what are the consequences of such proposals?
Make a Compromise
Not everything is black and white in business, which is why conflicts happen in the first place. Sometimes it’s very difficult to determine who is right and who is wrong if such contrasting outcomes exist at all. In this case, you should act with great caution.
Try to make a compromise in this type of situation and embrace suggestions from both sides. The truth is usually hidden somewhere in between and it is up to you to reconcile the confronting ideas. Additionally, this is the best way to preserve motivation and confidence of all employees because it’s a genuine self-esteem killer when a superior confirms that you are wrong.
Evaluate Team Members
Smaller conflicts happen all the time and they might even be good for employee productivity and competitive spirit. However, bigger disputes can cause significant damage, which is why one-quarter of workers admit that they call in sick or stay away from work just to avoid conflicts. You should continuously evaluate the behavior of team members and keep an eye on potential “rotten apples”. If you notice that some employees cause trouble regularly, don’t be shy of eliminating them from your organization – it may feel awkward at first but it will bring you many benefits in the long run.
Many factors can cause interpersonal conflicts within organizations: competitive characters, opposing methodologies, weak leadership, etc. However, all these elements produce only one result – poor motivation and productivity. In the case of disputes, team managers have to react promptly and wisely. With these techniques, you’ll be able to solve disagreements between employees or even prevent it, so don’t hesitate to use them. Let us know what you think about our suggestions and feel free to tell us how you solve conflicts among team members.
Questions or comments? Feel free to share them below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert Morris is a marketing manager from New York. Now he provides consulting services and works as a blog editor at the top writing services.