Do you know any families that never disagree? I didn’t think so. Disagreements, or “squabbles,” are an immutable fact of life in most families and not surprisingly, in businesses too.
Despite a business owner’s best efforts to promote a happy and congenial workplace, employees will not always see eye to eye, but that doesn’t mean that productivity has to come to a grinding halt.
Here are (3) three suggestions on how to effectively handle interoffice squabbles:
While your first instinct may be to let employees work things out by themselves, a lack of supervisory interference may actually permit the situation to escalate and worsen, impacting staff and their work. Act quickly and schedule a group meeting with everyone involved in the squabble. Make sure to not rely on email or memos to resolve the dispute, as direct conversation will be much more effective and time efficient. During the meeting ask everyone to explain his or her viewpoint so that you may provide a solution to resolve the dispute. Remember: your resolution is mandatory and effective immediately. Additionally, be sure to explain the rationale behind your solution and get everyone’s agreement that they will comply.
Interoffice disputes can get very personal; however, the goal must be to focus on the issues. Personal animosity and dislikes must not enter into the situation and emotions should be kept out of the dialogue. Conflict can be productive and lead toward shared appreciation for differing opinions, just as long as personal attacks are not part of the discussion. A business owner or manager must be skilled at diffusing contentious arguments so that the dispute doesn’t set off serious repercussions.
Once the disagreement has been solved, it’s back to business as usual, right? Wrong! Squabbles have a tendency to reappear and tempers can flare up once again. In order to ensure that the problem has been solved “for good,” it’s a worthy policy to “check in” with the employees and their Manager to see if there are any remaining issues that must be addressed. A little extra TLC might help avoid a problem in the future.
Keep in mind that disagreements in the workplace are a fact of life, however, when handled properly they can lead to some effective solutions and decisions that can positively impact the company as a whole.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.