I remember being extremely excited at the thought of being able to work with *Emma. She was hard working, efficient and most of all she was my friend.
We had worked together in the past and I remember endlessly nagging my new boss about interviewing her and once he did, make no mistake, she lived up to my hype and did an awesome job at the company.
In the years that followed however, our friendship waned and in the process we went from being best buddies too, well, not and as the tension between us rose and spilled over to others on the team, my boss had one piece of advice. “Get over it!”
We spend most of our productive time, in the company of the people we work with. When those relationships are strong, productivity not only increases but so too our overall quality of life. When we actually like the people we work with, it makes getting through the oftentimes stressful, the I hate Mondays and can’t wait for Friday, work week, easier and even more enjoyable.
My issues with Emma or her issues with me (this is my story) caused me many days of emotional distress and being in a work environment where my co-workers were forced to take sides and deal with a boss who felt he did not have time to waste on emotional issues and what must be female drama; left me feeling frustrated and alone. My work environment became extremely toxic.
Toxic workplaces make going to work physically unbearable!
The corporate world is filled to conversations about the importance of teamwork, team building and the value of working together but how much importance do companies really place on the person to person dynamics and the day to day interactions of their employees?
Some employers may say “That’s not my job. Once you come in, do your work, that’s all that matters.” Or, “Take it up with Human resource, employee relations is their job not mine.”
I however believe that ultimately just as it is your job to ensure that the work environment is safe, that fire exits are clearly marked and that desks and chairs are ergonomically designed, it is also your role to ensure that your employees mental well being is not ignored. Conflict resolution is a necessary skill in the toolkit of any good Manager and even if it’s not your natural skillset you must be able to recognize and get the appropriate resources involved to minimize and quickly resolve employee conflict.
So here are 4 tips mangers can use to help employees manage conflict.
In the case of Emma and I my manager finally stepped in and we were able to resolve our differences. Although our friendship was never the same we are still on speaking terms and I continue wish her the very best.
No relationship is perfect and even the best will be tested but in the end what matters most are the lessons learned. When you have people in your care, your employees are also depending on you to ensure that the work space, is a place where healthy and amicable relationships can thrive.
- Communication is Key: Your employees must feel confident that they can come to you in the event that there are unresolved issues. All parties must be given the opportunity to voice their perspectives on the issue. i.e listen to both sides.
- Don’t take sides: As you encourage your employees voice their opinions on the situation, do ensure that you are doing your best to be objective, all the while working to ensure that everyone knows you are interested in the peaceful and amicable resolution of the issue.
- Call in the experts: Sometimes the extent of the conflict can be more than you are trained to handle, this is where your HR department or mediation experts come in, do not be afraid to ask for professional help.
- Do not ignore: Some managers believe that if you leave it alone, it will go away and while in some cases the parties are able to resolve the conflict themselves, more often than not, you risk losing your best people to a toxic environment.
If you’ve found this article interesting, useful, thought-provoking and/or helpful please help it to reach a larger audience by “liking” it and sharing it with your connections. You’re awesome! Connect with me at [email protected]