Smash tax time, with our once a year EOFY sale!
Get started from $2*
Need help choosing a plan?
Created with Sketch. 1800 917 771 Schedule a call
Need help?
We're here for you.
Schedule call
Created with Sketch.

How to Resolve Conflict Between Staff Members

Workplace conflict is inevitable. Strong and diverse personalities can collide and people working closely may irritate each other. For small business owners, internal rifts can cause additional stress, erode culture, increase staff turnover and hurt productivity.

Here are some strategies to help resolve disputes.

Act quickly and show leadership

Simply hoping that employee conflicts will go away is a recipe for disaster. Management needs to respond promptly to serious workplace disagreements and follow predetermined guidelines to seek a resolution between the combative parties.

This requires strong leadership. If you’re a boss or a senior leader, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to such conflicts – it’s your job to fix things.

Listen to all points of view

The first course of action when significant conflicts emerge is for management or HR personnel to ensure they get all sides of the story. Speak independently to each person involved to assess the underlying reasons for the conflict.

Clearly document each side’s argument and resist the temptation to make premature judgements about who’s right and who’s wrong. Avoid inflammatory comments such as, “You have been the source of trouble in the past” or “You often overreact to situations”, as they can make one party feel as though you’re biased against them.

Consider using an independent mediator

In some circumstances, conflict may be best handled by an external mediator. This adds a sense of impartiality and fairness and may make any final rulings more acceptable for the people in dispute.

Finding a mediator who understands your sector and particular workplace quirks can be advantageous, as they understand the pressures and demands of the conflict resolution.

Stick to the facts

When dealing with a workplace issue it’s important to stay calm and rational while adopting a goal-oriented approach. Address the problems, not the personalities, and focus on facts that have been uncovered during the resolution process.

Agree on resolution options

After all the issues have been discussed, document a plan of action so there’s clarity about expectations for future behaviour. Encourage the parties to offer their own resolutions so they also have a voice. Make sure both parties understand the agreement and ensure complete transparency.

Following these steps should help smooth out any ugly incidents. Setting a clear vision about your workplace culture from the outset is the best way to ensure employee conflicts are kept to a minimum. Define acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

Communicate the rules to employees and even potential recruits in the hiring phase so you reduce the risk of hiring the wrong employee. Being proactive is a far better option than having to pick up the pieces if a dispute does occur.

To view more articles on Staff and Employees, visit here.

Related Articles

Looking for something else?

Get QuickBooks

Smart features made for your business. We've got you covered.

Help Me Choose

Use our product selector to find the best accounting software for you.

QuickBooks Support

Get help with QuickBooks. Find articles, video tutorials, and more.

Stay up-to-date with the latest small business insights and trends!

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter and receive educational and interesting content straight to your inbox.

Want more? Visit our tools and templates!

By signing up you are agreeing to our terms and privacy policy.

A happy small business owner signing up for the QuickBooks newsletter on laptop