It’s unrealistic to think all your employees will get along famously, all the time. But you may be surprised to hear that typical managers spend up to 40 percent of their time on conflict resolution – and 60 to 80 percent of workplace trouble is due to strained employee relationships.
How can you avoid having a toxic environment at the office and mitigate bickering among employees?
Identify the Problem
Your first step in effective conflict resolution is to identify the reason employees are not getting along. Then, sit down with them and work toward a solution.
- You may need an objective third party. If necessary, call on your HR department or another outsider who can assist with your conflict resolution process.
- Follow up. Once you have pinpointed the cause of bickering and taken steps to correct it, follow up to ensure your solution sticks.
Know Your Employees’ Personality Styles
Among the most common causes of employee disagreement are one person not pulling their weight while another picks up the slack; gossip; unfair pay structures; jealousy; stress; and – last but not least – clashing personalities. Once you realize most workplace conflicts arise from personality differences, you can minimize negativity and keep your resolution process on track.
Do you see any of your employees in the following personality styles?
- Direct: These employees prefer to address conflict head on. They value honesty, but not necessarily tact. They may become argumentative and inpatient, and raise their voices if they feel they’re not being heard. Don’t fight fire with fire. Match their intensity, but not their anger. Be candid and make it clear why you’re upset, but stick to the facts – and focus on actions and results.
- Spirited: Spirited individuals are not afraid to engage in conflict, and they don’t hesitate to share their feelings. They tend to become dramatic and may monopolize conversations. Unless you have a similar style, you may feel overwhelmed or manipulated when dealing with them. Avoid letting their persuasive style and tendency to jump to conclusions dominate your thinking. Review the pros and cons of their ideas before making a decision.
- Considerate: These team members try to avoid conflict at any cost. They are likely to give in, rather than face an unpleasant situation. While concerned with the feelings of others, they are unwilling to reveal their own opinion. This may make them appear weak or uninterested. Allow time for these individuals to work through their cautious nature to reach a comfortable solution. Show them how resolution will be achieved more quickly by focusing directly on the issue versus avoiding it.
- Systematic: Likely to become entrenched in their own position, these employees will stick to the facts and may be uncomfortable with other people’s emotions. They may be perceived as rigid, insensitive or unwilling to compromise. Avoid becoming inpatient or reacting emotionally with them. Use facts to support your proposed solution. Don’t insist on immediate resolution; rather, give them time to process the situation.
The workforce development experts at PrideStaff Fresno can help you effectively deal with employee disagreements, confrontation and conflict in your workplace. Contact us today so we can discuss the solution that’s right for you.