Tackling Employee Tensions

A reader writes:Conflict Resolution

Dear, Anita,

I am having trouble resolving a conflict between two employees in my office. The tension has been mounting and appears to just be getting worse as each day passes. How can I face this problem head on and arrive at an acceptable solution for both parties?

Dear Trouble Tackler,

Personality conflicts and disagreements are bound to arise in the workplace. As a manager or supervisor, you must be prepared with the tools and knowledge to resolve uncomfortable conflict that is brought to your attention at the office. It would be so much easier to sweep the issues under the rug and hope that they just disappear, but the longer you wait to dispel the tensions, the larger the problem can and will become.

First and foremost, make it very clear that you are a neutral party and that it is best to have a human resources representative present during any and all discussions. This can be helpful down the road in case termination or suspension may be needed to end the conflict. Select a room that is away from other employees and where distractions will be limited.

To get the ball rolling on resolving the workplace conflict, you need to call a meeting with all of the parties involved and gather as many facts and evidence as possible. Hearsay and “he said, she said” will not be of any use in these situations. Encourage the people involved to use “I feel” language versus “You do/did” Conflict Resolvedverbiage and coach them to listen to each other’s feelings. Once feelings are presented on both sides, get down to what the root issues are that are causing this “possible” negativity. To lighten the air in the room, it may be helpful to ask both parties to evaluate and share what they view are positives in their working relationship.

Next, ask both parties what actions they are willing to take to change the situation and what they would like to see changed in the behavior of the other person. Each person must accept responsibility for part of the dispute in order to move forward proactively. You want to develop a win-win solution that has the highest rate of a successful outcome.

For a few more quick tips, check out  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Resolving Conflict in the Workplace quick guide online.

I personally enjoyed this video by The Ninja Leadership Academy. View it here or see the video below:

I hope these steps will be helpful for you during your first conflict resolution adventure. Please, readers, share any extra tips and tricks that you have used with positive results!

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Best of Luck,

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Working With the Office Monster « Job Talk with Anita Clew
  2. Keila
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 19:07:16

    The answer is “Harmony”. We must work in harmony with other employees. I see what Bryan and Pravinchn are saying. The use of aggressiveness is good to set the matters straight. If it comes to keeping their jobs, the two employees will keep it straight. I do not want to leave a job just like that. On the other hand, I want to grow professionally and intellectually. Accept your mistake. That will calm the aggressive person down. The opinions thrown at one person will make that person less angry than the one who is giving the opinion.

    To handle to employees and have then express their feelings, is better done in private. If you see that both can not be contained in private, arrange for another meeting one on one. Then determine who is telling the truth and who is causing the conflict. It could be that one employee feels envy over the other. The other may be innocent and vice versa. Remember, the meeting is to find out the core of the problem not change the attitudes of the employees. We must set out standards in the workplace and inform that any feelings should be handled outside the workplace.

    Thank you :-)


    Aug 07, 2012 @ 08:46:35

    look in this day and age of high unemployeement rate just tell the two clowns that they are to come to work and work as efficiently as possible to help the company to profit than if they are not able to do that than give them notice that if they don’t resolve their stupid problems than look for some other place to work people today think that they deserve a job that is a lie from hell it is a blessing to have a job


  4. pravinchn
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 08:16:38

    Reblogged this on pravinchn.


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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