Managing conflict can be a manager’s most daunting task. What steps would you take to manage a confrontational conflict between two of your key employees?
The very first thing to do is assess who is involved in the conflict both directly as well as indirectly. Once this is done the next step would be to sit down with each person involved and ask them what their side of the situation is. After this I would also like to know what they believe the other side of the argument or conflicts opinion likely is about what has happened. Once this was done I would talk to anyone who was not involved who may have seen or overheard what happened. It would be even better if this person or these people were not invested at all in the situation or if one of them was maybe a leader as well in some manner. Once this was done I would then go back and look at past reviews and records to see if they offered me any insight into the situation at hand at the moment. It would only be at this point that I would bring all the involved parties together for some level of mediation. The mediation would start with me addressing the situation as well as how we will be moving forward. I would allow each side to explain their side and then after that again step in to mediate and look for common ground that we can go over in the mediation. After this I would ask each side of they understand where the other side is coming from at all. My hope would be to build a bridge of sorts between the two ends of the conversation. Once I felt comfortable that they could talk without my presence I would retreat from mediating the conversation and let them talk (but I would not leave the room). This would hopefully be a period in which they could openly address the conflict and come to a conclusion about it.