28 Jan, 2022

4 Ways To Mediate A Clash Between Employees

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Written by
Bianca Polizzi
A typical workplace will have people with differing views, opinions, and characteristics. As a result of these differences, conflict often arises and if it goes unchecked, may create a hostile environment.

“Mediation is one of the most effective tools of non-violence. It can turn parties away from conflict, towards compromise.” – Miroslav Lajcak

Although common, it can be a destructive thing for any business to have an unresolved rift among employees. If you're tasked with mediating the issue or resolving conflict, these are 4 ways you can go about it and bring peace back to the workplace.

Don't take sides

Mediation will involve listening to both sides of the argument on your part. You might agree with one or both or neither of the views. Whichever the case, it's crucial that you stay impartial in order to be fair.

The best way to do this is to avoid hearing the individuals involved in the rift separately. Each will likely try to paint their side as the right one, which may lead to bias on your part. Sit them down together and listen to what they each have to say while they're both in the same room.

Offer multiple, fair solutions

Since the employees involved in the argument are likely each of the opinion that they're right, neither will want to budge or admit that they're wrong. It's up to you to be the voice of reason and offer a way to move forward. Offering several solutions also has a positive effect because they’ll feel like they have power to make a choice that they’re more comfortable with.

You can start out by asking each employee what they feel the other person can do to resolve the issue. Based on the answers you get, you can suggest solutions that enable both parties to meet halfway so that neither of them feels like you favored the other and they got the short end of the stick.

Discuss the future

Although solving the immediate problem is good, it’s important to get to the root of the issue so you can find ways to prevent it from happening again in the future. That means practising active listening, asking the right questions, and letting both sides offer possible solutions.

This requires both parties to be honest and open-minded so you can come up with practical solutions for the future. Good communication among employees involved is key throughout this process. 

Introduce a conflict resolution strategy

Sometimes prevention is better than cure and getting ahead of a situation before it becomes a bigger conflict is the best way to keep the peace. One way of doing this is providing resources for employees to develop the necessary skills, such as conflict resolution training.

During such training, employees learn conflict resolution strategies, which will help them work through the issue themselves. Even if the issue escalates and you have to step in, the skills and knowledge gained during training lay the groundwork for easier problem-solving. 

“Mediation is conflict’s way of looking at itself.” – Jeff Cohen

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