You’ve hired the best people to work with you. Everyone brings different skills to the table. And likely, a different approach.
Every team member is unique. This is what makes the team so powerful.
But when people from diverse backgrounds come together, opinions are bound to clash.
In fact, working with someone who looks at things differently is even good for you sometimes. It helps you reach your goals quicker and more efficiently.
And small disagreements are fine. Most employees are mature enough to look past them.
The real problem, however, starts when these issues escalate out of control and turn into ego clashes.
You must have heard stories about co-workers who hate each other, refuse to work together, or can’t stay in the same room with each other.
No matter how big or small such conflicts are, it reflects badly on the organization. It is also very uncomfortable for other employees. It creates an environment that isn’t conducive to bring productive.
As the human resource manager, you often have to play the role of an arbiter. What do you do in situations like this?
How do you deal with conflicts at your workplace?
Here are 4 tips you can use.
1. Anticipate a problem before it becomes a problem
One of the super powers HR leaders have is that they understand people better than most others.
When forming a team, employees’ skills and experiences are definitely important. But it’ll also help if you keep their basic personality traits in mind.
Like-minded people work better together. But collaboration cannot happen without conflict.
People with conflicting personalities, when made to work together, are more likely to end up with conflicts.
Thinking about this in advance helps avoid conflict. Preparing for this conflict ahead of time helps you address it quickly, before it escalates.
2. Give direction, but don’t get involved
When a problem arises, do this first. Sit with the employees involved, hear them out, and find common ground.
Avoid judging anyone. Never play the blame game. And don’t ever get involved in the argument.
Instead, stay back and give them direction on how to resolve their conflict. Your job is for them to find a solution everyone’s comfortable with, and more importantly, one that aligns with your organizational values. Make sure you make the latter clear.
3. Explain what’s unacceptable
It’s not always possible to put together an ideal team. For situations like this, lay down some rules.
Make a list of things that are simply unacceptable [see the infographic below].
Set boundaries and make it clear that crossing the line won’t be tolerated.
4. Know when (NOT) to step in
It’s the exact opposite of point #4, but 100% valid.
Team members spend more time with each other than with you. They’re probably more comfortable around each other than with you.
They’re bound to have inside jokes or friendly banter that they share with each other. Unless something looks completely odd or unprofessional, don’t interfere.
Just because you overheard someone pass a snide remark about someone else, don’t conclude that they’re being bullied.
You can check on them casually, to ask if everything is alright.
But don’t make a case of it unless you are 100% sure.
An HR Leader’s job is not easy. It takes a lot of patience and quick thinking.
Companies are increasingly realising the importance of bonding amongst their employees.
Team bonding events are a great way to help your employees get along better. But there’s no sure shot way to eliminate conflicts.
The best you can do is strive for a positive work environment despite the disagreements.
d’frens helps companies like yours organise team building activities, experiential learning and internal communication solutions. This brings teams closer and improves efficiency at work.
If you’re looking to pep up your employee engagement programs, get in touch with us.
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