It’s a common workplace scenario: A team is tasked with completing a project. One staffer thinks it should be handled one way, but his co-worker wants to go in another direction.
A heated disagreement then ensues, and a manager is forced to step in and sort everything out.
How does one avoid taking sides in this situation? Here are three ways to handle employee disagreements without killing morale or productivity. Pass these along to your managers:
1. Take both sides at their word
Telling one of the individuals that he or she misinterpreted what happened is only likely to rile that person up.
Keep in mind that no one is necessarily lying about the events that took place. The two employees simply may have two very different perceptions of the issue or what took place.
2. Hear them out
It’s normal for people to remember their own actions more than another person’s. By asking each person to retell his or her version of the events that led to the disagreement, staffers are likely to find some middle ground.
3. Focus on the positive
If the feuding staffers have ever worked together successfully on a project, remind them of that accomplishment.
It will not only help steer them away from what they disagree about, but also remind them of what worked before.
One warning: If the disagreement has gone too far, remind managers and supervisors to bring the issue right to HR.