Creating Common Ground to Diffuse Workplace Tensions

Creating Common Ground to Diffuse Workplace Tensions

You might not have the time to deal with conflict at work. However, if you don’t, then it will merely erupt and infect your entire team. That’s why, when you’re noticing tensions arising between employees, it’s important to take action immediately to diffuse the situation by looking for common ground. When you do, you’ll not only find it but likely the solution to the conflict. Here’s a look at how to do it:

  • Address the situation directly. Be proactive when it comes to conflict. You need to raise the issue immediately and explain why it’s so important for your employees to resolve it. Don’t take sides; just bring the issue to the forefront so it can be discussed and resolved.
  • Listen to both parties individually. When you’re dealing with conflict, there is usually more than one side to the story. So listen to both parties and ask other employees too for their version of the events. When you get multiple perspectives, you’ll be able to get a more accurate sense of what’s going on so you can handle it effectively. At this point, don’t offer your opinion; ask questions and listen.
  • Bring them together. Once you have a grasp on the situation and what’s going on, bring all parties involved together for a private meeting. Please explain what you did to learn about the situation, so they understand you’re trying to be as fair as possible. Then talk about the big picture and how you see it. 
  • Focus on common ground. During the discovery process, you likely uncovered areas where there is common ground. Focus on these. Talk about those agreed-upon facts, figures, situations, or events. This will create a foundation for you to be able to bridge the gap.
  • Discuss areas of compromise. Once you’ve found some common ground, bring up points where compromise can be found. For the sake of finding peace and productivity, everyone should have to give in a little bit, so encourage your employees in those areas where you think they should be open to compromise. Everyone will feel more positive about the outcome if they have to give up something to get something. 
  • End on a positive note. At the end of the conversation, tell your employees how happy you are that you were able to work out the situation. Also, let them know you’ll be checking in with them regularly to assess progress. 

By following the tips above, you can turn a negative situation around and resolve employee conflict. 

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