Personality clashes and conflict within the workplace is inevitable. Often managers are skilled technicians, but may not proactively manage conflict between staff due to various concerns, e.g., worried about saying the wrong thing, or worried about making the situation worse. The following tips and strategies can be used to by managers to effectively manage conflict and performance issues in the workplace in order to mitigate against presenteeism, absenteeism and the lodgement of grievances and compensation claims. This list is not exhaustive, but is aimed at providing a starting point for managers to manage conflict in the workplace.
Managing Conflict in the Workplace
- Proactively manage potential interpersonal risks within teams by regularly checking in with staff, separating employees if necessary, conducting mediation and so on.
- Act consistently and fairly with all employees.
- Keep accurate records of meetings with employees.
- When communicating with an employee, use the “newspaper test” rule – Would I be happy for this to be reported on the front page of my local newspaper?
- Informal resolution should always be recommended before formal measures, which are costly and time-consuming.
- Make it clear that bullying in the workplace will not be tolerated and ensure all staff receive adequate bullying/harassment training and are informed regarding grievance policies and procedures.
- Ensure that complaints of bullying/harassment are taken seriously and are properly investigated.
- Model and promote positive behaviours of respect and courtesy with your staff.
- Monitor potential bullying, harassment or low morale within teams and take action when needed.