Did you know that about 85% of employees deal with some type of workplace conflict from time to time? A full 29% say they deal with conflict nearly all of the time.
There are several different reasons for conflict in the workplace. These include warring egos, workplace stress and heavy workloads that burn employees out.
When you’re trying to run an efficient MSP business, the last thing you need is employees fighting with each other and causing a bad atmosphere for everyone else. When employees are in conflict it can lead to projects failing and poor service to your customers.
Here are six steps to help you address and resolve conflict when it arises in your IT business.
Step 1: Gain Clarity on the Source of the Conflict
You will likely have one person giving their side of the story on a conflict and then when you hear from the other party, they have a completely different take.
People will naturally frame a conflict through the lens of how they feel, and this can often lead to misinterpreted motivations.
Before you can address a conflict, you need to fully understand what is happening. This often involves getting not only the input from the parties involved but also from your other employees who are not.
You want to get the facts first, then continue with Step 2.
Step 2: Find a Neutral and Private Place to Discuss the Conflict
Now that you have clarity on the conflict, you want to have a meeting with the conflicting parties. Don’t make the meeting in one of their offices, you want it to be a place of neutral ground.
It should also be private, so others in the office can’t overhear the conversation. Sometimes, stepping out of the office altogether and going to a restaurant or outside table at a coffee shop can also help by being completely removed from the place where the conflict is taking place.
Step 3: Be an Active Listener, Don’t Allow Interruptions
It’s not going to help resolve the conflict if someone is trying to explain their position, only to be interrupted before they get to their main point. If necessary, set ground rules for the involved parties that give them a chance to speak, non-interrupted (by you or the other party).
Actively listen to what each person is saying. By “actively listening” this means to listen to understand, and not listen to decide your response.
Before you move on ensure that everyone feels they’ve had the opportunity to explain their position.
Step 4: Identify a Common Goal
Next, you’ll want to help the participants agree on a common goal. Often both people actually want the same thing. For example, you may have a disagreement about the way a client’s service call should be handled, and the goal of both parties is to make the client happy and do a good job.
When bringing the parties together on a common goal, you can share your thoughts on what you feel based upon what they shared in Step 3.
For example, you might recognize that one person feels more attached to the customer in question because they were the one that originally sold that account, thus they may feel defensive anytime someone suggests something be done differently.
You want to help both parties recognize they have a shared goal and that working together they can accomplish more and have a better working environment.
Step 5: Agree With Participants on the Best Solution
As the boss, you do have the ultimate say in how a conflict is handled. Of course, it’s in everyone’s best interest to resolve it in a way that makes everyone happy, or at least in a way that doesn’t end up with one person feeling they got wronged.
Do your best to include both parties in the way to resolve the issue. You should include not only resolving this particular conflict but ask them how they think we can best avoid a similar conflict in the future.
Invite ownership of the process as much as possible, rather than just telling them what do to, as this will help improve the relationship between the parties.
Step 6: Continue Taking the Temperature of the Situation
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the relationship of the conflicting parties for a bit after the conflict has been resolved. This can help you catch any backsliding on what was agreed upon.
You don’t want to be overt about it and make either employee uncomfortable, just take the temperature by being quietly observant and then intervene if necessary.
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://syncromsp.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Caitlin_Headshot.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Caitlin Good is the Content Marketing Manager at Syncro with more than 10 years of experience in the technology and eCommerce industries.[/author_info] [/author]
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This document is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Syncro makes no warranty, expressed nor implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information contained herein.