Successfully Mediate Staff Disagreements

Sharon Boyd has nearly 25 years of experience between both the healthcare and marketing industries. In addition to being an RDH and content writing expert, she also holds a degree in business. Her responsibilities primarily include tackling the communication barriers between small business owners or healthcare providers and their prospective clientele.

Successfully Mediate Staff Disagreements

Employee conflict is a threat to your small business. Left unresolved, the tension between two members of your staff can trigger other disputes, negatively impact productivity, sour your corporate culture, and can even end in costly litigation. When you have valuable members that don’t get along, mediation may be better than letting them both go.

Clearly, you have every incentive to address and resolve problems among your team as soon as possible. Successful mediation will help you to do just that.

Employee disagreements rarely resolve on their own. You can’t afford to just wait around and hope that a problem between staff members fizzles out. Take prompt action to resolve the matter before it has a chance to get worse.

On the other hand, you can’t use your authority as a business owner to tell your employees to just stop fighting. Mediation require discernment and effort on your part.

How to Mediate Disagreements Between Employees

Provide a neutral mediator. The mediator oversees a successful negotiation between disputing employees and ensures that their opinions are heard. Ideally, you as the business owner should be the one to serve as mediator. If this isn’t a role you’re confident you can handle without getting emotionally involved, then hire a mediation consultant.

Keep an open mind. Let both of the conflicting parties have the opportunity to express their feelings in front of you and each other. Addressing the conflict openly will help the employees to feel heard and respected and help them to understand the concerns of the other party.

Clearly state your role and the goals of the mediation. Keep the discussion on track and try to calm things down if the situation gets emotionally heated. Tell the involved parties that they need to be willing to try seeing the problem from the other person’s point of view. Remind everyone that ongoing unresolved conflict has a serious impact on the entire company. Clearly state that you are not there to take sides; you’re there to advocate for the both of them. Express your confidence in a positive outcome and clearly state the consequences if they refuse to cooperate with the mediation proceedings.

Listen carefully. Try to get to the bottom of the conflict and understand what the core issue is. Ask open-ended questions that don’t make anyone feel blamed. Give everyone the chance to state exactly how they feel and what changes would help them to feel better. Identify the ways their job roles may clash or reasons they feel their expectations regarding each other are not being met.

Seek common ground and suggest solutions. After carefully hearing out both parties, try to identify what goals they both agree on. If they realize that they are united in purpose, then they may be motivated to reach a resolution. You can offer solutions for them to consider, but don’t feel obligated to fix the problem for them.

The ultimate goal of mediation is to help the involved parties reach a mutually-agreeable solution. Once this happens, the conflict will die down, your employees will perform better at their jobs, and your business will continue to thrive.