Effective Tools for Mediating Conflict Between Two Employees
BY VALERIE DANSEREAU
In the workplace, diverse people from different backgrounds come together and disagreements are bound to happen. Some disputes can be worked through without big emotions or drama, but other times there is a personality clash or an issue that two employees don’t seem to be able to work through without intervention. What are some tools for mediating conflict between two employees? In this article Valerie Dansereau offers invaluable tips for mediating conflicts between employees in the workplace.
In the workplace, diverse people come together from different backgrounds and sooner or later, there are disagreements. Some disputes can be worked through without out-of-control emotions or drama, but other times there is a full-blown personality clash or an issue that two employees don’t seem to be able to work through without intervention. What are some tools for mediating conflict between two employees?
Establish Ground Rules
Set up a time and place to meet with both employees together. When you meet with them, establish some ground rules upfront. Examples of ground rules that can be effective in successfully mediating conflict are:
• Take turns speaking
• No interruptions
• Listen to each other respectfully
• Depersonalize comments: attack the problem, not the person
Let participants know that you expect them to sincerely try to understand the other person’s position. Each should be prepared to explain the other’s position if asked. If one of them thinks of something they want to say while the other is talking, they should make a note of it and bring it up when it’s their turn to speak.
When dealing with either or both individuals who are in conflict, it’s imperative that you stay calm. There’s a good chance their attempts to talk to each other will be accompanied by emotions that are raw. Both parties may feel so passionate about their side of things that they have stopped listening to each other at all. Any sign of out-of-control emotions from you will only exacerbate the situation.
Get All the Facts
Before any progress can be made in mediating conflict between two employees, everyone involved needs to have all the facts. Each of the conflicting individuals should be encouraged to tell their side calmly. As a mediator, you’ll need to listen closely, take notes and avoid choosing sides. Don’t rush into drawing conclusions. Remain objective as you gather all the facts and repeat back to them what you are hearing from them both.