Conflict resolution concept

Even if the right hires are made, human nature will inevitably lead to the occasional conflict between co-workers. Be it a distributor sales office of a frontline cleaning crew, occurrences of personality clashes are commonplace and it’s important for managers to acknowledge them head-on. 

To help managers on the job both diffuse and minimize the chance of workplace conflict, WGU outlined a lit of actionable tactics for a variety of work environments. 

1. Open Door Policy. Many companies or managers say they have an open door policy, but it’s important to truly stress that it means employees can feel safe to share concerns without repercussion. By establishing an environment of trust, employees can share their tensions before it leads into a significant issue. 

2. Know When To Intervene. While some scenarios leave a manager no choice but to get involved, sometimes the best strategy is to sit back and let employees work issues out themselves. Opting to sit out a mediation process between two workers can lead to the employees finding a solution themselves without it seeming like it’s only being resolved because the manager is involved. 

3. Listen to Both Sides. Even if the conflict involves an employee with an upstanding track record and another with a history of write-ups, it’s important for a manager to take every scenario impartially. By truly listening to both sides, it can prevent instances of a wrong resolution being made based off reputation alone. 

4. Documentation. Especially in instances where two employees aren’t getting along consistently, it’s important to document each incident and the details of each conflict. Doing so can serve as a reminder for what types of actions are irritants to each side, what activities should be avoided, or what resolutions have worked in the past. 

5. Identify the Type of Conflict. Depending on what the issue is, a resolution may be by-the-book or it may take a more creative approach. Many conflicts, however, have a clear violation of a rule in a company handbook which has a recommended solution outlined already. Knowing these policies can help edited the process. 

In related news, check out these 5 tips for preventing burnout at work