Disagreements happen all the time between employees, and many times they get resolved quickly so all parties can move on. But what do you do if two employees won’t get along? And what if those two employees are a supervisor and manager, both of whom report to you? This can be a very stressful time, resulting in low quality and quantity of work from everyone involved.
To resolve the situation, you need to understand where each of them is coming from and then help each of them see the others’ point of view. Sit down with each person separately and try to discover the root of the issue. Is it because they have different views? Did someone say something hurtful? Did someone make a mistake that resulted in extra work? Whatever the reason is, just listen and don’t judge. Let the person feel that you are there to help support them, not to point fingers. If they were in the wrong let them know that, but in a non-judgemental manner.
Keys to a Successful Conflict Management Meeting with Managers
If you want to work to have a productive meeting with upper level managers, follow the tips below to obtain successful outcomes:
- At the outset of the meeting, establish clear boundaries for all parties about what will be discussed and how disagreements will be handled during the meeting.
- Make it exceptionally clear that no matter what is said, or how the parties feel, respect must be maintained at all times.
- Stick to an agenda and bring the focus back to the agenda when the conversation gets off track.
- Encourage each individual to understand the perspective of the other person.
- If hurtful comments are made, as the moderator you need to identify the hurtful comment and help them understand why it was inappropriate or disrespectful. Emphasize that it is the responsibility of the message sender to communicate effectively and ensure the message is received appropriately.
As the person who is facilitating the conflict resolution, you need to be the bridge that will bring the two sides together. It will probably take more than one meeting to resolve the situation successfully. Have each individual start to work on one small change to start the progression towards a repaired relationship. And remember, the Supervisor and Manager don’t need to like each other, they just need to have a working relationship where they treat each other with respect.
When a Lack of Self-Reflection is an Issue
There are times when the cause of contention is that one person is self-focused and unconcerned about the impact of their actions on others. In this case you need to meet one on one with the person causing the issues and make it clear to them that they are acting inappropriately. Once they understand that their behaviour is problematic, then you can work with both of them to repair the broken relationship. If the person is unwilling to admit their mistake and work to repair the situation then you need to assess if they are the right fit for their role.
Managers and Supervisors must support you and your objectives, they can’t do that if they are not working well as a team. Take the time to carefully work through these issues, because if done effectively it will not only repair the issue, but it will also strengthen that relationship allowing them to work through future issues better and more efficiently.
Essential HR has skilled conflict management mediators to help you navigate through difficult employee issues. Contact us today. We can help you align your communication practises to help mitigate and avoid potential situations that affect your workplace and your team members.