How To Manage Situations With Conflicting Employees?


All organizations are made up of human beings. Men and women with very different personalities, circumstances, habits, backgrounds, ways of thinking, and values. Even though such diversity provides original perspectives to take on projects, among other advantages, this can eventually cause conflicts that affect the work environment and productivity in general. Currently, many companies have specialists in human resources recruitment and tools to evaluate them. But this is not enough to foresee their potential conversion into conflicting employees.

How do we manage the situations that these workers can generate and maintain a harmonious relationship between team members? How do we prevent these conflicts from affecting the company’s operations? Read on for some helpful tips.

Habitual Behaviors of Conflictive Employees

Sometimes they can be obvious, and sometimes not so much. Conflicting employees often generate arguments with their colleagues for reasonable or unreasonable reasons. In the first case, the problematic worker cannot raise the situation that upsets him, so he complains least appropriately or tries to solve it on his own, without consulting the group or the management. . When the reason is unjustified, the behavior is repeated, hinting at an individualistic, authoritarian attitude that lacks empathy.

These people react to something as simple as the temperature, and they want the thermostat to hold others responsible for their mistakes. No matter how good results this type of employee reports, letting these situations pass will provoke the rest of the staff, a breeding ground for a more significant conflict.

On the other hand, there are unmotivated workers for very different reasons: either they perceive that their efforts are not sufficiently recognized or feel displaced. It may also happen that the person in charge or director of the department cannot motivate him and is limited to giving him orders with total indifference. The standard behavior of these employees is to determine themselves to “doing their own thing” without really getting involved or adding value to their work. However, you can dedicate yourself to spreading rumors and negative comments about the company or managers among your colleagues in more severe cases. This creates disagreement and tension among the rest of the team rather than directly raising your issue with management. However, this situation destabilizes the work environment, and it can even affect its employer’s branding if the employee were to share their position on social networks.

Measures To Manage Situations With Conflicting Employees

As we said at the beginning, letting these situations pass, and being aware of them, is detrimental to the productivity and image of the company. The following are basic recommendations for dealing with conflicting employees from which other complementary actions can be generated.

Observing Objectively and Gathering Reliable Information

Your insight as a manager should help you observe for yourself the attitudes of the staff in your charge without the need to spy on them or overwhelm them. In this sense, you must objectively assess any situation you consider irregular. If this occurs in your absence and comes to your attention through other employees, evaluate the testimonials and try to differentiate the most objective ones. Likewise, you can rely on performance evaluations. With all this information, you have to effectively draw up a strategy to deal with the conflicting worker.

Act Immediately

Without a doubt, this is the essential thing that you must assume as a manager. Either by direct observation or through information from other workers, you must work on its resolution without any delay once you know the problem. Situations like these can become more difficult to correct if you wait for them to evolve favorably independently. Unlikely actually.

Listen To Troubled Employees.

Often, if an employee is causing problems in the workplace, they are inappropriately raising concerns that could be fair and relevant. Then, it is up to his superiors to check and validate these reasons if that is the case.

To do this, you must meet in private with the worker in question to assertively raise the aspects of their behavior creating discomfort. Next, encourage him to state the cause of his attitude honestly. The employee will likely become defensive or upset. If this happens, don’t try to “soften” the situation. On the contrary, and maintaining stability, repeat what you heard him say and ask him to confirm if you understood him correctly. After this confirmation, ask him what his concerns and interests are. Be empathetic and listen carefully to his ideas. Only then will you have a better perception of the problem and be able to propose appropriate solutions.

Establish Goals and Responsibilities

Indeed, the leaders of some companies do not detect that some organizational structures and decisions can cause problem behaviors. In this regard, many organizations lack practical and concrete parameters for the accountability of their collaborators. Consequently, it is not uncommon for cases of employee conflict to arise.

A characteristic of leadership is the ability to set specific goals. Together with these, it is essential to have a good practice guide aligned with the company’s values ​​to fulfill such purposes. In the same way, it is necessary to determine responsibilities, specifying incentives and consequences. When workers assimilate that they must be held accountable for their decisions in their performance, they will avoid inappropriate behavior. And if they incur these repetitively, they will assume the consequences.

Raise Constructive Comments

When managing situations with conflicting employees, offer them valuable and pertinent observations that help them improve their attitude and performance. Usually, these indications are not well received. Instead of understanding them as guides to improvement, they will be afraid of not being able to put them into practice, or they will become defensive, as we said before.

To ensure that observations produce the desired effect on the employee’s attitude, experts in talent management indicate that they must include:

An acknowledgment of what the employee is doing well

Despite creating conflict, a worker is probably doing something right, and it’s only fair to acknowledge it. As we said, it may be the case that the origin of his attitude is in the lack of encouragement for his dedication to a task or project.

An assessment of the individual’s current performance

Her assertiveness and sincerity must prevail since the positive and the negative must be expressed. Even so, it avoids that the evaluation contains comparisons with other co-workers. It is better to base them on facts since personal judgments could generate more anxiety in the collaborator. And this will make it difficult to change from conflict behavior to a more collaborative and productive one. Even when you have heard the most credible testimonials of the employee’s conduct, allow him to present his point of view.


Finally, these observations must be more than a possible meeting. It can be a kind of coaching that integrates advice aimed at helping conflicting employees to learn, change their attitudes, and evolve in the workplace. This would entail the approach to other challenges that the worker could assume. Or identify hard and soft skills that you need to prepare or improve on. In short, please do not limit yourself to imposing instructions nor pressure him with threats. Try to involve him in solving the problem and convince him of the advantages of changing his attitude. The more involved you feel in the process, the better you accept the instructions.

Also Read: Effective Task Management For Your Business

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