Handling Personnel Conflicts

by Krishna on March 13, 2007

In an organization, many conflicts and disturbances could arise. These could be due to a variety of reasons such as disputes between personnel, project mistakes or unforeseen circumstances like accidents or natural calamities. This is a fact of life regardless of the size of the organization.

Quite often, the main occurrence is because there are conflicts between different persons in the business. A manager must take the responsibility for resolving such disputes, especially when they involve persons whom he or she is managing. The Human Resources Department (and Legal sometimes) should be involved when necessary.

Some thoughts on this:

  1. All disputes must be handled fairly. This means that different people should not be treated differently.
  2. Final decisions should be aligned with the organizational goals. A resolution that puts the organization at risk with regard to meeting its target would harm other employees.
  3. The root causes behind such disturbances must be identified and classified as a risk. Such risks should be proactively managed in future. If that cannot be done, the solution for handling the situation should be documented for future use.
  4. A caveat to the above point: The manager should know how to distinguish between long-term, short-term and one of a kind disturbances because the solutions or the time spent to discover solutions for each can be significantly different.

Conflict resolution frequently requires good negotiating skills. And negotiations typically mean compromises and decision-making on the fly. The manager must have effective knowledge in making the right decisions. Also she should have the acumen to manage the other party diplomatically without making vital concessions.

Sometimes, negotiations may result in the manager identifying new areas of improvement – such as HR policies, product pricing, inter-department coordination, to name a few. Over time, an organization can continue to improve its internal working to minimize conflicts.


Charlie March 14, 2007 at 9:57 am

Considering both sides is always needed in handling conflicts. I always hate those moments where I never won an argument because of favorites. Nobody wants unfairness especially in the part of the one who decides.

Krishna March 14, 2007 at 1:39 pm

You are right, Charlie. The person who is deciding should look at the arguments made instead of the person who is making them.

Howie March 15, 2007 at 3:38 pm

The root of problems is always intriguing. We can't just solve something without knowing the truth. I guess this is were we should focus, as to identifying the root might point to a different solution to the conflict.

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