Your team won’t always see eye to eye, so it is your responsibility, as a leader, to step in so that these issues won’t negatively impact the workplace. Being a mediator, however, isn’t always an easy role to play, especially when tensions are flaring and everyone wants things to go their way. Here are a few tips to help you de-escalate even the toughest of workplace conflicts.
Listen Carefully to Both Sides of the Story
Petty arguments might be at the least of your concerns, but ignoring them will only further exacerbate the problems at hand. So, before you shrug the matter off or offer your two cents, take the time to listen to each side of the story. Be sure to also check your personal biases so that you don’t jump to conclusions or pick sides based on favoritism or past events.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
Pointing fingers is never okay, even when there is a clear victim and a clear perpetrator. While it is your duty to point out any wrongdoings, try to avoid placing the blame on anyone as this often proves to be counterproductive when working towards a resolution. Instead of placing the focus on where someone went wrong, suggest alternative actions that will prevent the predicament from reoccurring.
Act As a Mediator
After everyone has taken a moment to cool off, urge them to talk through their differences. This is when the real work comes in as it is up to you to ensure that both members are able to get their points across and that they are willing to listen with an open mind. To mediate effectively, always step in to clarify when things get murky, and never allow room for arguing or disrespect in any shape or form.
Work Towards a Mutually Beneficial Solution
Depending on the situation, this won’t always be possible. But in most cases, there is at least a couple of solutions that will satisfy each party. If the two aren’t able to come up with one on their own, suggest one that will help them to meet on mutual grounds.
If you find yourself putting out the same fires time and time again, you might be called to make some changes to prevent further outbursts. Taking such stances will go a long way towards satisfying your team and strengthening your workplace morale.