Create Open Communication, Solve Office ConflictsJanuary 29, 2015 - By: Jason Carney
Office conflicts, though often minor and petty, can take a huge toll on the workplace. It can strain relationships, increase stress and reduce an employee’s work quality. In most cases, neither side is right or wrong, but whatever the issue managing these disputes effectively can prove to be a difficult task. Because of this, when mediating conflicts it’s important to communicate openly and honestly.
In order to resolve the issue, all parties involved must speak to one another in a calm and cordial manner. Find a person, preferably someone in HR, who can stand on neutral ground and act as a mediator. Schedule a time to meet and go to a private room to avoid disruptions.
Before beginning, take a few deep breaths. It will help everyone relax and allow time to consider how to express a feeling or concern constructively. Acknowledge the problem. How and why did this challenging situation arise? Defining the issue at its core will assist both sides in thinking through the entire situation. Doing this may present a new perspective and can even change a person’s outlook.
If outlining the dispute does not change feelings, let the individuals each take time to verbally state their opinion and why they may feel that way. It’s important for each side to speak for itself, while limiting accusations. Work conflicts are often attached to hurt feelings, so it’s important to acknowledge the emotions. This will also present a foundation to move forward – what can be done to fix the problem?
It’s crucial to find middle ground, no matter how small. For example, if two employees are fighting over a desk or office location, maybe both sides can agree that neither person should get to obtain that space. What is the solution? Are there other desks available to occupy? Maybe each person can draw straws to see who gets the first pick, so it’s fair. Then finally, hug it out! It’s not required to actually hug, of course, but make sure there no lingering bad feelings before returning to work.
It may be worthwhile to schedule another meeting a few weeks later to see how both parties are holding up. Having continuous, open communication such as this will promote issue resolution in-house and will limit the amount of emotions that can be bottled up.
Communicating and resolving issues in a timely manner strengthens co-worker relationships, improves office culture and increases office morale. How does your company handle office conflicts?