Manage Conflict with an Employee

January 6, 2011  |  

(Businessweek) — I once read about a business owner who said he didn’t have any unhappy employees because he’d fired them all. I guess that’s one way to approach workplace conflict, but if you’re looking for a way to keep employees in their jobs while diffusing their anger, here are a few suggestions:  First, listen to their perspectives. You may feel you’re being soft if you sit down and talk with the very person you’d like to clobber, but it’s one of the surest ways to calm someone. Listen with the intention of understanding his or her point of view (which isn’t the same as agreeing with them). Saying, “if I understand you correctly, you felt I was disrespectful when I brought up the late reports in the staff meeting” lets your employee know that you heard what was said—but says nothing about agreeing with it. In fact, the point is not to agree or disagree; it is to listen.

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