When you have a diverse set of people with varied opinions working together, co-worker conflicts are inevitable. Personal conflicts between co-workers can be a cause as well as result of stress at the workplace. What is important is to resolve the conflict rather than let it build into a crisis. So, if you are do manage a team it becomes important for you to know when and how to intervene.
Approach conflicts with an open mind
Different people have different perceptions. It is important to respect differences. Have an objective point of view to understand the nature and cause of the conflict. This enables one to find a common ground where the conflicting co-workers can bury their difference.
Conflicts between co-workers when left to fester can only get worse with time. This causes a hostile environment and is definitely not healthy for the organisation as well as the employees. Expecting differences to die a natural death is quite unrealistic. Cut the conflict off in its early stages by communicating.
There is nothing better and more effective than the three-way communication process of Ask – Listen – Talk. If you have evidence of differences with a co-worker, politely ask them where the problem lies and how the they can resolve it amicably. Listen to what they have to say and suggest a solution that is acceptable to both the parties. This should be a real test of your team management skills
Get a mediator
Sometimes, conflicts between co-workers are so entrenched that the parties involved are ready to do everything but talk to each other. In such cases, the best option is mediation. Find a third party as mediator who can listen to both sides objectively and offer a solution.
Be sure the problem is solved
Your managerial skills do not come to rest once you’ve found the solution. You will need to really find out if the the issue has been uprooted and that both parties are satisfied with the solution. Even an iota of disappointment with respect to the resolution in either of the conflicting co-workers can lead to another conflict which may get even worse. It is helpful to set guidelines to know what to do in case similar situation arises in the future.
The author of the article is Co-founder of Work Better Training. Work Better Training is one of India’s fastest growing Executive Education and Training firm. The views expressed here are personal.