We all know employees who don’t get along from time to time. Whether it’s because of differences in their personalities, lifestyles, opinions or some other factor, sometimes employees just don’t mesh. And when there’s discord in the workplace, it affects everybody. Tensions makes the office environment uncomfortable – and negatively impacts productivity.
It could be a complex issue or an easier problem like this example where …. say you’re the team lead and SAM, an older team member, was constantly complaining about Peter, a younger team member. PETER’s work product, HIS text messages beeping every minute… the list can grow. PETER has an issue with SAM breathing down his neck and making comments.
Ask yourself: WHAT type of leader do you want to be? WHAT approach will make your team more effective? Your conflict resolution options are:
1. send them to HR.
2. Tell them to knock it off or ignore each other (bad idea for relationship building or if they get into a future dispute).
3. Tell them to work it out, which should be the 1st option depending on the level of tension AND also their personalities.
BUT, what if they could not work it out? What if YOU suggested mediation? A opportunity where YOUR fighting project-mates get to craft their own ending – and maybe find a new respect for one another? Even better… they can get back to the business of adding value in projects and NOT focus on these interpersonal issues.
You can lead by example to demonstrate great listening skills so they can perhaps understand the real issues. Maybe Sam is worried Peter will take his job. Maybe Peter lacks self confidence. You need them to build a bridge to be stronger teammates and for THEM to learn how best to communicate with one another so they don’t end up in the same spot. The only thing we want as a team lead is a positive resolution and an efficient team. Also, WHAT will make this issue go away …. because hearing them complaining takes away from productivity.