Conflict is a natural part of life. It can arise in any relationship, whether it be between spouses, friends, or coworkers. And while conflict can sometimes be healthy, it often leads to tension and discord. When this happens in the workplace, it can be especially damaging, as it can interfere with productivity and lead to a hostile work environment.
So how do you resolve employee-manager conflict? Here are five strategies that may help:
1. Establish Clear Expectations From the Start
When hiring someone new, it’s essential to set clear expectations from the beginning. This will help avoid misunderstandings and conflict down the road. Be sure to explain your expectations for their work and your management style. This will give them a better understanding of what you expect from them and how you prefer to communicate.
Not sure what your expectations are? Sit down and take some time to think about what you expect from your employees. Do you want them to be available during certain hours? Do you expect them to complete specific tasks by a deadline? Once you clearly understand your expectations, it will be easier to communicate them to your employees.
2. Communicate Openly and Often
Open communication is key in any relationship, but it’s especially important in the employer-employee relationship. When there is open communication, employees feel comfortable coming to you with concerns or questions. They also know that you’re approachable and willing to listen to their suggestions.
Make sure to schedule regular check-ins with your employees. This will give you a chance to hear about any problems they’re having and offer help or guidance. You can also use these check-ins to give feedback on their work and let them know what they’re doing well.
3. Be Willing to Compromise
In any conflict, it’s important to be willing to compromise. This means that you’re open to hearing your employees’ suggestions and considering their points of view. It also means that you’re willing to make changes if it helps resolve the conflict.
Of course, you don’t have to agree with everything your employees suggest. But by being open to their ideas, you can show them that you’re willing to work together to find a resolution. Not only will this help resolve the conflict, but it will also build trust and respect between you and your employees.
4. Avoid Blaming or Criticizing
What you say during a conflict can be just as important as what you do. When communicating with your employees, be sure to avoid blaming or criticizing them. This will only worsen the situation and make resolving the conflict harder.
Instead, focus on addressing the problem at hand. For example, if an employee is not meeting your expectations, explain what they need to do to improve. If they made a mistake, help them understand what they did wrong and how they can avoid making the same mistake in the future.
5. Seek Outside Help
If you’ve tried all these strategies and still have trouble resolving the conflict, it may be time to seek outside help. This could mean meeting with a human resources representative or hiring employment mediation services. These professionals can help you and your employees communicate more effectively and find a resolution that works for everyone.
You can also encourage your employees to seek outside help if they’re struggling to resolve the conflict on their own. This could mean meeting with a counselor or therapist who specializes in workplace conflict.
What to Do If Things Get Worse
In some cases, employee-manager conflict can lead to more serious problems, such as harassment or discrimination. If you or your employees are experiencing this type of behavior, it’s important to seek help from a qualified professional, such as an attorney. Here are some additional resources that can help:
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The EEOC is a federal agency that investigates allegations of workplace discrimination.
- State and local fair employment practices agencies: These agencies investigate allegations of workplace discrimination and provide resources for employees and employers.
- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): The NLRB is a federal agency investigating unfair labor practices allegations.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA is a federal agency that regulates workplace safety. They can help if you or your employees are being harassed or threatened at work.
Regardless of the type of conflict, remember that some resources and professionals can help. You can find a resolution that works for everyone involved by seeking outside assistance. These five strategies are a great place to start. But if you need more help, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance.