When you bring people together in the workplace with different personalities and motivations, conflict is inevitable. As a result, many companies have a conflict resolution policy that explains exactly how conflicts should be handled. If your company does not have a formal policy, you can follow a few best practices for handling the conflict.
Identify the Source
It's difficult to deal with workplace conflict when you don't know the source of the conflict. Determine who is really causing the problem. The first place to look is always within. Examine yourself to determine if your behaviors are contributing to the conflict. If your behavior is not causing the conflict, determine whose behavior is.
Attempt to Resolve
Attempt to resolve the conflict by going directly to the source. Don't talk to the employee in front of co-workers; you don't want to appear confrontational. Keep the matter low-key by meeting with the individual one-on-one. Tell her that you feel there may be conflict or tension between the two of you and that you would like to resolve the situation peaceably. Don't make accusations. Ask her if you have done anything to offend her. If something offended you, politely tell her what it was; she may not be aware of the offense.
Chain of Command
If you are unable to resolve the conflict on your own, decide if the conflict is severe enough to discuss with management. If the issue is starting to negatively affect your morale or job performance, it's OK to tell management, but follow the chain of command. Talk to your immediate supervisor first. If you go over your supervisor's head and speak with upper management, it may create conflict between you and your supervisor. Only go above your supervisor's head if she refuses to address the situation. Even then, tell her that you intend to go up the chain of command if the issue remains unaddressed.
Have Your Facts Together
When meeting with your supervisor or other members of management have your facts together. It's a good idea to keep a journal that documents all of the incidents that have happened between you and the perpetrator. The documentation should mention what happened, the date and time, where the incident happened and names of witnesses. This documentation is proof of the conflict; otherwise, it becomes your word against the perpetrator's. Once you disclose all of the facts to your supervisor, trust her to take over and resolve the issue.
Faizah Imani, an educator, minister and published author, has worked with clients such as Harrison House Author, Thomas Weeks III, Candle Of Prayer Company and "Truth & Church Magazine." Her dossier includes JaZaMM WebDesigns, assistant high-school band director, district manager for the Clarion Ledger and event coordinator for the Vicksburg Convention Center.