Everyone has a work dispute at some point. After all, we are human beings with feelings and emotions. Conflict is inevitable, we aren’t always going to see eye to eye. It isn’t the conflict that is the problem, it is how leaders manage conflict that matters. At every successful company in the world there are competitive people with diverging ideas on what works at any given time. Sometimes, people come to ideological disagreements that must be resolved. Sometimes the disagreements are much more mundane, and pertain to things as small as assigned seating. The way that a leader manages work disputes says a lot about their company. Strong leaders know how to manage these issues without compromising the relationship or morale of their employees.

Make Sure Employees Understand Their Boundaries

When employees don’t understand their boundaries, conflict can arise. That is why it is important that you set boundaries as part of an employee guideline. For example, your guidelines might state that employees cannot discuss controversial topics, such as politics, on company time. This can help to limit the opportunity for conflict to occur.

Learn To Respect Your Differences

When you are running a successful business, you are often bringing together people from different cultures with fairly different ideologies. These differences don’t always have to result in conflict. It is critical that your employees (and management team) learns to respect and even embrace their differences as a strength, not a weakness. Sometimes this can be done through a class on diversity or multiculturalism. Sometimes the entire team should sit down and talk through their problems—as leaving an open line of communication is key to reducing the amount of conflict on a team.

Bring The Tension To The Forefront And Resolve It

There is nothing worse than tension that simmers under the surface. When tension isn’t addressed or resolved, the problem just gets bigger and more explosive. That is why it is critical to address problems when they arise instead of avoiding them. Good leaders bring the tension to the forefront without confrontation. Sometimes, this can be done through mediation.

Managing work disputes isn’t easy, and it isn’t meant to be. It is a skill that good leaders pick up and develop over time. The best leaders understand how to bring people together that have different ideologies in order to achieve a common goal. Managing personalities and handling work disputes is part of that. Strong leaders know how to create an environment where employees respect boundaries, where workers respect their differences, and where there is enough communication where employees can feel comfortable working things out. Does your company have a plan for managing work disputes? If not, it might be time to come up with a framework.

* Work Disputes Management image credit goes to: rawpixel.