Conflicting opinions in the workplace are inevitable. After all, it’s virtually impossible for every person on a team to share the same view. In fact, conflicting opinions are generally a good thing. It allows the team to explore different options and chose the best path forward.
However, conflicting opinions mean there is likely to be tension in the team, especially if a particular course is chosen against the opinion of some. This tension can quickly damage morale and even lead to people feeling they have no option but to quit. Then, your concern will be regarding them hiring a good unfair dismissal lawyer and the company having to deal with a court case.
Having pure intentions isn’t enough. You need to have a set strategy to handle conflicts at work. This will ensure they are successfully and fairly resolved. Additionally, having a set procedure ensures all staff know how conflicts will be handled in advance.
Create A Conflict Declaration Route
All employees need to know that there is someone they can talk to when there is a conflict in the workplace. It’s usually a member of the HR team but it can be anyone. If you don’t have an HR team, you can hire freelance HR consultant services. This person may be able to resolve the conflict by listening to the aggrieved party and letting them vent.
However, the main point of this is to alert management and allow the implication of the agreed procedure.
Arrange A Meeting
The first step is to arrange a meeting between the conflicted parties. This should be as soon as possible to stop tensions from mounting. Speed also helps to prevent other staff members from taking sides and causing more issues.
The meeting should be between conflicting parties and have two independent people present. This helps to ensure fairness.
Both parties will have the chance to air their viewpoint, opinions, and grievances without judgment. While they are talking everyone else must listen.
This ensures everyone knows the facts and opinions.
Let Them Talk
It can be a good idea to let the parties involved talk to each other. Having a ‘referee’ present often means the talk will remain civil and the conflict can be resolved. It’s worth being patient and letting the people involved hash out their own agreement.
Taking notes is a good option, particularly regarding the points that both parties agree on.
If the conflict isn’t resolved or shows any signs of moving in the right direction, you should intervene. At this stage, the best approach is to start with the points they agree on. You will instantly reduce the tension of the conflict as they realize they have a central ground.
You can then work on what each party is willing to give in order to come to an agreement. You may need to make suggestions to help the agreement form.
Be patient during this process, an amicable agreement is essential if you want the team to work well together in the future.
If no agreement can be reached then you, as head of the meeting, will need to dictate what the solution is. You’ll need to do what is best for the business. Most importantly, you’ll want to review the situation regularly to ensure there is no lasting tension.