Resolving Employee Performance Issues

Conflict is not a strange thing for people. Human beings experience it in their day-to-day lives – with their friends, families, and more so their professional lives. In the workplace, conflict causes a massive degree of frustration, pain, discomfort, sadness, as well as anger. It is a normal life aspect. In the world of today, organizations hire employees from diverse geographical locations with dissimilar cultural and intellectual backgrounds, as well as various viewpoints. In a working environment where people have disparate outlooks toward the same problems, disagreements are bound to happen. Conflicts are inevitable in a person’s day-to-day life.

And when they happen, the idea is not to try to prevent them but rather to resolve and manage them in an effective manner. When people use the appropriate tools of resolution to address issues, they will be able to keep their differences from rising to major problems. Conflict resolution is integral in the workplace as it helps to distinguish a good work environment from a bad one. So, as a manager, what steps should you follow to resolve a conflict? One of the most common forms of conflict is employee performance issues. These are the steps a manager can use/perform to help solidify, correct and improve employee performance.

1. Prevent problems before they start.

The key to getting employees to meet your expectations is to set those expectations with them up front. Setting clear performance goals and providing precise job descriptions helps employees know what they need to do to perform well. Without this information, a hardworking over-achiever might head down the wrong road in their work without even realizing it.

2. Provide regular feedback.

Discussing performance issues with employees shouldn’t be restricted to formal reviews (though regular performance reviews are important). Good managers should be ready to make small corrections any time an employee slips up. This can be done in passing with simple resolution for minor infractions or with a formal meeting for more serious issues. Addressing the issue when it starts is the most sure-fire way to prevent it from recurring.

3. Create an Open Door Policy

To catch conflict early, managers should create an environment of open communication so employees feel comfortable coming to leadership with their concerns. One way you can facilitate this is by implementing an open-door policy. This policy should encourage employees to come to management about any matter of importance without fear of repercussion. It involves active listening, asking questions, and utilizing teamwork. With this in place, employees will be more likely to reach out when there’s an issue, which can help to prevent conflicts or keep them from escalating further.

4. Clarify what is the source of conflict

The first step in resolving conflict is clarifying its source. Defining the cause of the conflict will enable you to understand how the issue came to grow in the first place. Additionally, you will be able to get both parties to consent to what the disagreement is. And to do so, you need to discuss the needs which are not being met on both sides of the issues. Also, you need to warranty mutual understanding. Ensure you obtain as much information as possible on each side’s outlook. Continue asking questions until you are confident that all the conflicting parties understand the issue.

5. Find a safe and private place to talk

Many people often wonder and ask, “What is an approach to solving problems peacefully?” To have a constructive conversation, you need to find an environment that is safe for you to talk to. Such a place also enables you to take the necessary risks for honest communication regarding the issues at hand. 

So, before trying to resolve any issue, find a safe and private place to talk. Do not choose the office of either party or a location near them. And while at this place, ensure that each party gets enough time to air out their views regarding the matter.

6. Don’t make it personal.

You may be upset or offended or disappointed that the person is not meeting expectations, but your feelings are not the reason for the meeting: the person’s performance (or lack of performance) is. If you need to throw a mini-tantrum before or after in private, go for it! Then pull yourself together and move on.

7. Listen actively and let everyone have their say

After getting both parties to meet in a secure and private place, let each of them have the opportunity to air out their views and perceptions regarding the issue at hand. Maybe your colleagues still study in college and can’t manage their work time. Give each party equal time to express their thoughts and concerns without favoring the other. Embrace a positive and assertive approach while in the meeting. If necessary, set ground rules. Taking this approach will encourage both these parties to articulate their thoughts in an open and honest manner as well as comprehend the causes of the conflict and identify solutions.

8. Investigate the situation

After listening to the concerns of both parties, take time, and investigate the case. Do not prejudge or come up with a final verdict on the basis of what you have. Dig deeper and find out more about the happenings, involved parties, the issues, and how people are feeling. Have an individual and confident conversation with those involved and listen in a keen manner to ensure you comprehend their viewpoints. You can do so by summarizing their statements and replicating them back to them. Also, try finding any underlying conflict sources which may not be evident or noticeable at fast. 

9. Document the Incident

When you’re dealing with workplace conflict, you want to make sure you keep track of all conversations, disciplinary meetings, etc. Be sure to include the facts from any employee-related incident, as well as the resolution each party agreed to. This will help you monitor behavior over time and identify employees who could be toxic to your work environment. It’s also important to record incidents in case any employee should try to take you to court.

10. Get Insight from your Employee Handbook

Although it might seem like common sense, your employee handbook should be the first point of reference when dealing with office conflict. This handbook should serve as a guide to help you navigate disputes and what disciplinary steps to take, if needed. The policies within your handbook need to set clear standards as to what qualifies as unacceptable workplace behavior. They should leave little room for interpretation to ensure there’s zero confusion as to what’s expected.

As a leader in your organization, it’s critical that your employees are aware of company policies and understand that they’re accountable for their actions and held to the same standards as everyone on the team, regardless of their title or position. Employees should be well aware that if guidelines aren’t met, disciplinary action will be taken.

11. Determine ways to meet the common goal

When managing conflict processes, you need to have a common objective, which is resolving the issue and ensuring it does not resurface. And to solve any problem, you need to be aware of the different stages of conflict. This will enable you to look for the ideal ways to meet the common goal. After clarifying the source of conflict, talking to both parties, and investigating the situation, you need to sit down with both parties and discuss the common ways you can execute to meet the common goal, which is managing and resolving the matter at hand. Listen, communicate and brainstorm together until you exhaust all options. According to the team lead of Edu Jungles writing company — Kevin Smith, find the source of conflict is the main step to solve any problem.

12. Create a Comprehensive Solution

As a leader, your role in solving workplace conflict is to help employees clarify their needs and guide them to a fair solution that both sides will accept. When disputes arise, be sure to address them right away; however, don’t rush when it comes to working out a resolution.

When conflict arises in the workplace, consider following these steps:

  1. Understand the conflict. Encourage an open discussion between employees involved in the dispute. Have both parties state their interests and what they care about.
  2. Find common ground. Oftentimes, once employees have hashed out their issues, they realize they’re actually working toward the same goal—they just have differing opinions on how to reach it. Once you’ve helped them identify the common objective, it’s much easier to work toward a solution.
  3. Brainstorm solutions. Gather multiple ideas for resolving the conflict and talk over all potential options in a positive way. Remember, no idea is a bad idea. Discuss the pros and cons of each solution—while looking for win-win scenarios where both parties can agree.
  4. Agree on a plan of action. After you’ve outlined possible solutions, give the employees a chance to come to an agreement on the best way to move forward. If they can’t do this, guide them toward an option that they both can commit to.
  5. Follow up. After coming to a resolution, it may be helpful to follow up with the employees involved after a few days or weeks to make sure there are no additional issues. If adjustments or changes need to be made, they should be implemented quickly.

13. Agree on the best solution and determine the responsibilities each party has in the resolution

Managing and resolving conflict leaps model of communication. Employees will find it easy to interact with another as they understand that they have one goal, which is meeting the company’s objectives. So, after investigating the situation and determine ways through which you can resolve the issue, both parties need to develop a conclusion on the best solution for the problem. And to agree on the best, you need to identify the solutions which each party can live with. Find common ground. Afterward, determine the responsibilities each party has in resolving the conflict. Also, it is crucial to use this chance to identify the root cause and ensure this issue will not come about again.

14. Create a performance improvement plan.

Once the cause of the low-performance is identified, managers can lay out a path for the employee to improve. If the problem is ability-related, the employee might benefit from additional training or from a slight tweak in their job responsibilities. Employees who lack motivation may respond better to having additional support or receiving more positive feedback about their work.

15. Evaluate how things are going and decide preventative strategies for the future

Never presume that the issue is resolute. Effective communication ought to dominate in the business. So, ask yourself, “What is the second step of effective communication?” Knowing this will help you ensure that the employees are working together to meet the organizational goals. So, continue keeping an eye on the issue and assess if the solution is effective.  If the issue resurfaces, take necessary action. 

Also, decide on preventative strategies for the future. Many people often ask, “What is the basic conflict in everyday use?” Some people may not agree on everything, and this may be an issue. So, look for lessons you can learn from the conflict and how you handle it. This will help you know what you can do when the issue resurfaces as well as enable you to develop and nurture your conflict management skills by training. 

In conclusion, conflict is part of our day-to-day lives. You can disagree with your family, friends, or coworkers. But, there are various conflict resolution steps you can embrace to ensure this issue is not manageable. Managing and resolving conflict at work is integral in meeting organizational goals. So, if you have any problems or there are disagreements between your employers, look for ideal ways you can manage this situation. Above are some tips and techniques you can use to learn how to solve conflicts in the workplace.


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