Supervisor Conflict Resolution

About the author : Kent McGroarty

When you’re a supervisor, maintaining a peaceful work environment is naturally one of your daily to-dos. However, dealing with employee conflicts in a timely manner are not your only priorities. Supervisor conflict resolution techniques can also be necessary to keep the work environment calm and productive instead of tense. To help you handle conflicts with fellow managers effectively, review the following tips.

Avoid Arguments in Front of Employees

Getting in a “tiff” or argument in front of your staff is a work faux pas, since it’s widely considered unprofessional. Engaging in combative conversations in front of employees also makes them feel uncomfortable, tense, and nervous, while additionally distracting them from their work. If you and a fellow supervisor have an issue that needs discussing, agree to chat in a private area, such as your office, their office, or an unused meeting/conference room. Resolving issues without an audience is always the best course, as it shows your dedication to maintaining a professional work environment.

Remember to Breathe Deeply

Deep breathing immediately lowers blood pressure, and calms the mind and body. If a fellow manager or supervisor speaks to you in a way you find harsh, demeaning, or outright combative, it’s normal to want to defend yourself. However, taking a few deep breaths gives you time to compose yourself and avoid making inflammatory comments that heighten the situation. If you need more time to breathe deeply before responding to your co-worker, feel free to excuse yourself. Spending a few minutes in your office or another private area helps you calm down and focus on resolving the problem peacefully and efficiently.

Use “I” Statements

“You” statements come across as accusatory, unlike “I” statements that express concern and other feelings. For example, saying “You always interrupt me during team meetings, and I’m sick of it” sounds relatively aggressive compared to “Being interrupted during the middle of a team meeting is always upsetting to me. Please help me out and wait until I’m finished to say something!” If you can come from an “I” place more often than not, you’ll likely notice how conflicts seem to resolve themselves faster.

Consider Professional Mediation Services

Sometimes, there are workplace conflicts that require an objective professional. This is nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed about, as everyone experiences issues that could benefit from a professional mediator. These individuals are not there to pass judgment, rather they function as keen listeners who hear both sides of the issue and provide proactive solutions that work for everyone. They often stress compromise, which avoids one person feeling slighted or like the other individual is favored. The professional mediator you hire might want to meet with each of you individually before having a group session, as it gives them time to take notes and gain a deep understanding of the problem. If they start the mediation with you and the other person present, they will ask for silence while the second individual speaks. Interruptions can cause emotional responses that push you back rather than helping you move forward. No matter how the mediator works, they will not consider their job finished until both parties are satisfied.

Depending how successful you feel the mediation session is, you might want to keep the professional on retainer to help solve future work conflicts, whether with managers, co-workers, or anyone else on premise.

Remember, the sooner you completely resolve a conflict, the more peaceful your work environment will be. It also sets a good example for everyone else in the workplace. For help with supervisor conflict resolution and other work-related issues, please contact Peaceful Leaders Academy today!

About the author : Kent McGroarty