Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could get along all the time?
With different personalities working in one organisation and people spending a significant amount of their time at work, conflict between co-workers is inevitable. It could be a one-off disagreement that has never been resolved, such as, “my colleague shamelessly stole my client and I missed my target!”. Or a full-on personality clash with opposing views on how to move a project forward.
Left unaddressed, these situations escalate and prove troublesome for the people concerned and the wider organisation.
To keep the peace between your employees you’ll want to navigate them through these bumps in the road and take a proactive approach to managing conflict. Knowing what to look out for can help you resolve issues early on and prevent any further damage. In addition to this, a clearly structured reporting line and well-trained leadership team can help you to manage conflict in your workplace. This will free you up to focus your attention on bigger business decisions.
What are the signs of conflict that you should look out for?
The blame game. If an employee repeatedly blames someone else for their work not being completed on time it could suggest that there is an underlying reason and conflict is at play.
A change in morale. The effect of conflict between employees can spread further and affect the wider team. If you notice a change in morale, it could indicate conflict.
A heated exchange. A heated exchange between employees in a team meeting can be the result of tensions rising. This can be an awkward situation for all present and suggests a separate conversation is needed ASAP.
Increased absences. Ongoing conflict can lead to stress and a heightened level of sickness absence. If an employee is struggling with a stressful situation at work and can’t see a way of resolving it, they may stop coming to work altogether.
Equipped with some knowledge on the common signs of conflict, what can you and your managers do to resolve it?
Ways to resolve conflict between your employees
Conduct 121s. 121s or private informal catch-ups with employees provide an opportunity to talk in confidence. You can address progress and allow time for any other business that may need to be discussed, such as motivation or teamwork.
Investigate. If a complaint about a co-worker has arisen from a 121 you will want to investigate the issue before taking immediate action. Speak with the other employee in question to find out both sides of the story before aiming to find a solution with both parties present.
You might find that some difficult conversations arise during this process. Having a relevant manager or senior team member sit in can help to ease the tension.
Take action. Policies are there to protect your company and your employees. So it’s a good idea to have a policy detailing the management of conflict in your business. This will inform employees of official processes that may be initiated to resolve conflict.
Engage employees. Team building exercises bring your team together and can be a good way to dissolve or prevent conflict. Personality profiling is a brilliant way of developing understanding between teams.
Seek advice. Conflict can often get brushed under the mat, to the detriment of the business. Our experienced HR advisors can help to make sure that this doesn’t happen and show you and your team the best possible way to move forward. Contact your local HR Dept today.