What should a manager do when two or more employees are squabbling with each other?

Chronic conflict can hurt productivity. cause customers to leave and introduce talented employees to look for a more agreeable place to work.

But if managers jump in too quickly, they run the risk that employees will never learn to work through their differences on their own.  Instead, they may be all too willing to argue over differences of opinion, knowing that the boss will fix it.

At the other extreme, some managers hate dealing with conflict so much that they stick their heads in the sand and neglect to do anything about it.  But avoidance seldom solves entrenched conflicts, which are only likely to get worse if ignored.

The following are some guildelines for how to intervene when it gets to the point where it needs to be dealt with.

  • Separate employees for a cooling off period
  • Allow both employees to tell their stories
  • Keep the discussion about specific, observable, job-relevant behaviors
  • Paraphrase their positions, and validate both parties
  • Bring a reality check to the discussion – reframe the problem so it is solvable
  • Engage employees to come together and create a solution – hold each other accountable
  • Plan to follow-up

For more information concerning this topic simply, search the web for Managing Conflict in the Workplace.

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