If you’re managing a group of people in a working environment, you’re trying to make things work regardless of the obstacles the team faces. Still, disputes will be inevitable. The complicated connections within the team impose the need for hierarchy. Even if everyone respects the person with a higher rank, disagreements may arise because you’re dealing with different characters and egos. It’s important that you manage conflicts before they turn into eroding issues such as low engagement and turnover.
The disrupted harmony in the office may cause some of the employees to lose it. Maybe some of them are already thinking about quitting, but you certainly don’t want your team to be left without its best members. Thus, you need to think of ways to manage and resolve conflict situations between the bosses and their staff. Try these tips and you’ll notice inevitable changes in a short period of time:
Recognize when conflicts occur
Did you notice that some of the employees are not that amicable towards their superiors? Did they change their attitude in any way? Maybe they are frustrated about the workload or they are having troubles collaborating with the rest of the team.
If this behavior is persistent and you notice this person working well with some people while avoiding the boss and other members of the team, it’s not a personal problem we’re talking about. They are deeply upset about something, and you need to find out what it is before the situation escalates. You have two options: ignore the behavior or solve the situation. The first one doesn’t go to anyone’s advantage.
Invite this person in your office. Ask them how they are handling the work and what problems they are facing. Don’t start with direct questions like “what’s wrong with you lately?” Lead the conversation with general guidelines and ask about the good and bad sides of their jobs. Then, ask if they’ve faced any conflict situations with coworkers and superiors. Do they feel like the hierarchy in the team works? Maintain a friendly tone and make them feel like they can honestly speak their mind.
Find the reasons
You can’t polish things up without being aware of the reasons for the conflict. What caused some of the employees to raise the workplace conflict? Was it the behavior of their superiors? Was it their own ego?
If you realize they are mad because of the decisions the boss made, it’s time to talk to the person in charge. Have a meaningful conversation that will make them see the point. Tell them you understand their point of view, but explain that they need to solve the situation. If the boss is not responsible for the situation, proceed to the next conflict-solving method:
Put the big picture in focus
When you recognize a real conflict, you have to solve it in one way or another. Instead of yelling around and making the employees feel bad about the situation, you can implement a smooth method: explain why they all need to control themselves. If some of them are annoyed by the distribution of tasks or other decisions you’ve made, explain how they contribute towards the big picture.
You are not only a HR manager; you’re also a mediator who needs to bring people back to reality. Take their attention away from the conflict situation and bring it back to the goals.
Set some boundaries
When there is conflict within the team, you have to recognize it, discover its reasons, and let people express their opinions. However, they need to know the boundaries. Each employee handles frustration differently. Some people are keeping things inside, whereas others inflate the situation. The second group of people is the one you should be careful with.
If you notice that someone is crossing the line with provocations, harsh comments and passive aggression, you need to set the limits. Tell everyone that you understand the situation and you’re doing your best to solve it, but you need them to keep their heads cold and keep the main goals of the organization into perspective.
Organize consistent coaching
If talks don’t work, you should think about organizing mentoring and coaching sessions that will help the employees to work well together. As a HR manager, you have a responsibility to manage conflict situations between employees and bosses, but you should also support the personal and professional growth of each member of the team. Mastering conflict management is part of their growth.
These coaching sessions will help them to recognize conflicts, respect the boundaries, and prevent other unwanted situations from arising.
Now that you know the steps to effective conflict management, start with the first one: analyzing the situation in your organization. That’s the starting point towards harmony.
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