It is only natural that at one point you run into employees who dislike each other. Toxic behavior, as is coworker conflict, has an incredible impact on the positive atmosphere you promote. This is a matter that you have to deal with very delicately since there is a fine line you do not want to cross.
You want to help your employees as best as possible, but you do not want to seem like you are taking a side. So, how do you stay neutral?
Profiles International posted a very helpful list that specifies the outcomes of resolving conflicts in the workplace.
Once you're made aware of your employees not getting along, there are six possible outcomes of resolving conflict among coworkers.
- Both parties work out their differences, rise above, and move on.
- Both parties agree to disagree, but get past it and move on.
- Both parties say they’ve moved on, but one or both secretly harbors continued ill will. Negativity lurks and performance soon begins to dip.
- One party sucks it up and acquiesces while the other seemingly “wins.” Conflict could continue.
- The “wrong” party won’t budge and needs to be removed from the department and possibly let go.
- The situation damages both workers and both leave.
Here are a few tips on how to diffuse or avoid these type of situations.
Small Business Chron suggests, “Set standards and codes of behavior that strictly forbid aggressive behavior at work. For instance, company policy may prevent an employee from yelling at another employee or using derogatory language at work. If an employee violates the policy, she may be restricted from working extra hours or receiving favorable work assignments for a specified period. By writing clear company policy, you can ensure that your employees know the consequences for violations. That might prevent them from letting emotions get the best of them. As with any new policy or policy changes, provide all employees, managers and shareholders with a copy.”
Keep a Record
It is generally a good idea to keep written records of each incident that breaks out. Notate the reason behind the argument, the date and time and how the issue was resolved. I would suggest all parties to be required to sign and state how they will change their behavior moving forward.
Frugal Marketing has great advice that is probably the best piece of advice. Debra Confren states, “Have an Open Door Policy. When people, and particularly difficult personality types, feel that you are approachable, they are more likely to keep the lines of communication flowing and less likely to let things simmer to crisis / boiling point. Conversely, employers who “table” every request to talk with, ‘Let’s schedule a meeting for this Thursday at 4:00’ give the impression that they aren’t really interested in staying connected to their employees' concerns, insights and ideas. People shut down communication under rigid guidelines (and are then more likely to act out in a passive-aggressive or hostile way) . On the other hand, when employers are available, people are less likely to take advantage of that policy, particularly if the employer practices good communication skills and skillfully gets the issue out on the table so that both can quickly get back to work”