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BLOG: Resolving disputes in the workplace

15 May 2023

Chartered HR professional, and MD of Loates HR Consultancy, Sarah Loates has over 20 years of experience in the field. She provides her top tips for business owners, managers or HR staff on resolving disputes in the business here.

“Let’s face it, conflict in the workplace is just not pleasant. It can significantly impact employees and negatively affect their well-being, and yours! Therefore, employers need to address conflicts promptly.

That said, resolving conflicts in the workplace can be a daunting task, but it’s an essential skill for creating a productive and harmonious work environment. Here are some general steps that can be taken to resolve conflicts:

  • Address the issue promptly, aka nip the issue in the bud: It’s essential to address the conflict as soon as possible. If left unresolved, conflicts can escalate and cause further problems. And remember, everyone else is watching you, not dealing with the issue.
  • Listen actively: Listening to both sides of the conflict is essential to understand the issue. Listen without interrupting, show empathy, and acknowledge the feelings of both parties.
  • Identify the root cause: Identify the root cause of the conflict to help you find a solution that addresses the underlying issue.
  • Collaborate to find a solution: Work with both parties to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs. This could involve compromise, finding common ground, or finding a creative solution.
  • Follow up: After the conflict has been resolved, follow up with both parties to ensure that the solution is working and that there are no further issues.
  • Use a mediator if necessary: If the conflict is particularly challenging, consider using a mediator to help facilitate a resolution. Mediation and conflict resolution are related but different processes. Mediation is a specific method of resolving conflicts that involves a neutral third party. In mediation, the mediator facilitates communication between the parties and helps them to identify the underlying issues and interests at stake. The mediator does not impose a solution but allows the parties to find a mutually acceptable resolution.
  • Mediation can be particularly effective when there is a lot of emotional tension or when the parties are having difficulty communicating.
  • Create a positive work environment: Encourage open communication, mutual respect, and a positive work culture. This can help prevent conflicts from arising in the future.

During our course on resolving workplace disputes, we will be looking at utilising the skills from formal mediation to resolve disputes informally. Leaving you feeling confident and calm that you have the know-how and skills to deal with this effectively when two employees lock horns or fall out.

Resolving disputes in the workplace takes place on 24 May 2023 at Friars Mill in Leicester. Find out more and book your free place here.