Clarity and agreement
Clarity cures conflict, so conflict is best avoided upfront with clarity and agreement. Misaligned expectations and unclear direction cause conflict; so once the friction begins, it is wise to redefine the objective or outcome with each party. Get to the goal—the why and the purpose of the shared effort. Ask each party to recommit to the specific action, timeline, and direction. Work and rework this stage together until agreement is achieved. Then it is incumbent on the mediator or manager to check back with the parties and confirm that the behavior is consistent with the agreement.
Scott Mosby, President
Mosby Building Arts, St. Louis, MO
Steps to resolve issues
First, we take any conflict very seriously, as we know the impact conflict can have on morale. Second, of course, we ask our managers to resolve any issues among their direct reports. Our human resources department is the next stop, and our staff is very good at listening and working to bring the parties together to resolve conflict. We will bring in the managers of the employees involved, if appropriate. Sometimes we will use an outside “employee assistance” program that provides counseling in difficult situations.
Tom Kelly, President
Neil Kelly Inc., Portland, OR
Sit down and discuss issues
We haven’t had a lot of issues with conflict among employees—it simply is not in the culture of our business. We try and appreciate everyone’s differences; and as long as they are doing their job correctly, there should not be a problem. In my experience, when there is a conflict it has usually been because one person feels that someone else is not doing the job the way it should be done, and that comes down to management. When we have had an issue, though, we simply sit down with those involved and find the root of the problem and discuss it.
Emily Lindus, Vice President
Lindus Construction/Midwest Leafguard, Baldwin, WI
Meet parties individually
As for the conflict issues: We will deal with them head on. We will meet with the parties involved individually, and once we have determined the source of the conflict, we will bring all parties involved together to determine the best way to not only resolve this particular conflict but also to use it as a learning opportunity to avoid similar conflicts in the future.
Nick Cogliani, President
NEWPRO, Woburn, MA