When people are at odds, productivity can dip and the bad vibes can quickly affect the rest of your team. As a leader, addressing any disagreements quickly and keeping them from escalating is a top priority in order to achieve goals, maintain a friendly environment, and preserve the team’s ability to function cohesively.
That’s where conflict management strategies come in. If your staff members can’t work out their differences on their own, it’s time to take action. Try these tactics for clearing the air so that everyone involved can come to an agreement and keep the team spirit alive.
1. Listen Carefully
Invite each person involved in the dispute to talk to you individually and share their side of the story. By paying attention and allowing them to get through their statement without interrupting, you’ll get a better understanding of the situation and each person will feel like you truly listened to them. Sometimes just letting people get their frustrations out into the open goes a long way toward solving the problem.
But if that’s not the case, the next step is getting everyone together to open up the lines of communication and figure out a fix as a team.
2. Build An Agenda
Invite team members involved in the dispute to a meeting. But beforehand, ask them what they’d like to discuss specifically so that you can all create an agenda together. Collaborating on an agenda serves several purposes:
- It lets the team members work together and with their manager on accomplishing a task.
- It creates a tool that will keep the meeting on topic.
- It ensures that both (or all) parties have the opportunity to voice their problems and viewpoints in the time allotted.
- It serves as a benchmark for progress.
Make sure to set a deadline for adding items to the agenda before the meeting, and give everyone attending a copy.
3. Agree On The Problem
When you sit down for the meeting and discuss the items on the agenda, allow each person to voice their thoughts on every point without being interrupted and encourage active listening. (If the dispute turns out to be a misunderstanding or lack of communication sometimes this is all that’s needed to clear the air.) Make sure everyone knows that you’re here to focus on the issue and not to attack the other person.
When all the details are out in the open, work together to pinpoint what the real problem is. If everyone can agree on what needs to be solved, that’s a significant step toward coming to a solution that will work for all parties.
4. Brainstorm Solutions
Ask your team members for their suggestions and ideas on how they might solve the problem. Position this like a brainstorming session where you’re all putting your heads together as if you were working on any other challenge related to your work. Encourage solutions that allow some give and take, and take time to talk out the details.
Sometimes an easy solution will become obvious, and sometimes coming to a win-win agreement will be tough. Sharing the goal of solving the issue effectively and efficiently along with a willingness to be flexible will go a long way.
5. Record The Agreement
Once you’ve come to an agreement, write it down and make sure every teammate involved understands the solution and what they’ll be expected to do as a result. Give everyone a digital or hard copy for their records.
6. Monitor Progress
As time goes on, look for signs that the solution is working and the feud has subsided. Some examples are:
- Adherence to the solution agreement.
- High overall team productivity and cohesiveness.
- Pleasant conversation among the team members that had the disagreement.
If the solution isn’t working for one of the parties, the agreement isn’t being fully followed, or you’re hearing about more issues, it might be time to bring in another party to mediate. But If you and other teammates feel that everything is back to normal, you can rest assured that you’ve successfully applied these conflict management strategies to settle a dispute.
Dealing with a conflict in the workplace isn’t always pleasant, but it is necessary in order to prevent escalation and ultimately resolve the issue. No matter what kind of disagreement your team members are having, taking these steps together will ensure that a solution is found in a timely manner that everyone can accept.
Ready to strengthen your team’s bond? Call us at 972-416-9646 or fill out a short form online to learn more about holding a team building event today!