Disagreements are inevitable, especially in the workplace. That’s just what happens when people from all walks of life work together to accomplish common goals. You might meet employees who support your visions but you can also expect to cross paths with people who don’t share the same values every now and then.
Although no one enjoys conflicts, they can provide opportunities for growth too. Oftentimes, the best ideas or decisions are a result of discussions, revisions, and even debates. These allow businesses to explore various options and gather ideas from everyone on the team.
However, constant disagreements are a red flag that need to be addressed. You certainly don’t want these negative exchanges to escalate and end up costing your business time and money.
To help you navigate the complexities of employee management and conflict resolution, here are four communication tips that can help you steer a more productive discussion:
Address Issues Immediately
It can be tempting to stay out of your employees’ conflicts, sure. After all, you have so much on your plate already. However, you should also recognize when you need to step in.
Conflicts among your team members can be detrimental not just to their group dynamics, but also to your entire business. How can a remote team work harmoniously (and productively) if they can’t even talk to each other openly?
Once you sense tension among your distributed team, conduct an investigation right away and find solutions. The last thing you want is for things to get so bad that a valued worker ends up resigning – and taking their talents elsewhere.
Set Clear Expectations
Uncertainty breeds problems. Take task delegations, for instance. If roles and tasks aren’t too clear, some people will end up doing more work than others. You can bet that this will lead to friction and resentment.
To avoid such conflict, set clear expectations from the very beginning. Clarify each role so that everyone knows what is expected of them and so that they can take accountability for their actions.
The less ambiguity in the workplace, the better. This way, your remote team can focus on the tasks in front of them – rather than second-guessing themselves and their colleagues.
Build Active Listening Skills
Imagine a world where everyone listens intently and purposefully. How many conflicts do you think can we avoid then? A lot, definitely.
So, whenever you need to get to the bottom of a conflict, listen to your team members carefully.
This means listening to understand rather than to respond, and it’s the best way you can figure out what the situation requires and thus resolve the matter.
Remember, good leadership is more about being an effective listener than being an effective speaker. Or at least, the former will get you farther.
Use Neutral Terms
As a manager, people will definitely come to you for advice. You’ll likely get both sides of the story and this will help you determine the root cause.
However, it’s best not to point fingers. Managers ought to stay neutral when handling conflicts, lest you get accused of taking sides or worse, favoritism. Thus, when resolving conflicts, use neutral terms like “we” instead of “you.” The former is inclusive, while the latter is accusatory.
Let’s say that two of your remote employees are squabbling over the work designated to them. As a mediator, you can say something like, “We can do better next time by helping each other accomplish difficult tasks together.” This way, you don’t just acknowledge the struggles of one party, but you also give the other side the chance to do better without humiliating them.
It’s normal for people to see the same things differently. We all have different experiences and these shape our truths. What’s important is that we learn to respect each others’ opinions at work as long as they’re shared respectfully and professionally.
Remote Staff has been providing Australian SMEs and entrepreneurs like you with remote workers from the Philippines for the last 14 years and counting. On top of the hiring process, we also provide assistance for onboarding and managing, including conflict resolutions for remote workers.