Ann Marie Puig


Ann Marie Puig discusses how to resolve workplace conflicts efficiently

When building a work team, it is inevitable that the daily coexistence between the different personalities that make it up at some point can lead to the appearance of labor conflicts. Learning how to properly deal with these situations is key to the success of the business. Ann Marie Puig, a global business consultant, understands what it takes and offers insight into how to efficiently resolve issues in the workplace.

Differences in the workplace are normal. In fact, it is healthy for them to happen as long as these types of situations are handled correctly. They should become opportunities for improvement, without neglecting the emotional aspects of those involved.

Labor conflicts can occur in several ways: between two employees, between work teams, or between leaders and the team members they manage. “No matter how difficult the situation becomes, it is always possible to solve it and take advantage of it to learn from it and turn it into an opportunity for improvement,” asserts Puig.

When labor disputes arise, they should not be avoided or pretended that nothing has happened. As time goes on, the tension will increase and the problem will only get worse. It is advisable to assume the problem immediately, before it escalates and the bad feelings it causes are integrated into the daily work of those involved.

If you find that there is a conflict between collaborators, encourage them to find a way to resolve it. If a conflict develops between teams, it is a good time to improve communication between departments. If, as a leader, you have a difference with one of your collaborators, solve it personally and privately.

After the problem is identified, a suitable time and place should be established to talk for as long as necessary until the solution is found without external interruptions. Remember, that’s not the time to allow attacks or find culprits. Those involved should focus on the problem, not their opinions about other people.

When they meet, each person should have adequate time to say what they think the other party needs to hear. As a leader, you should not allow anyone to monopolize the conversation or control the topic. Everyone involved should talk about disagreements and how they feel about the situation.

It is essential to give your full attention to the person who is speaking and not interrupt them or allow the others involved to do so. As a leader, you must make sure you receive the messages that your collaborators want to send, so it is advisable to repeat and reformulate, if necessary, what has been heard to better understand the arguments.

Clarifying questions should be asked, if necessary, and the central ideas should be reviewed to understand the frustrations of each collaborator. Knowing how to listen is a vital practice for the success of any labor dispute resolution process, so you must pay attention, encourage respect in the conversation and weigh the arguments to make the best decision.

The conversation will always focus primarily on disagreements, but the solution is only possible when existing points of agreement are found. This is achieved by also taking into account the positive aspects rather than just the negative ones. Seeking agreement demonstrates a willingness to find common ground and build a relationship around that trust generated.

Adds Puig, “To find those agreements, as a leader you can share previous examples and explain your views so that those involved can broaden your picture. For example, if you disagree with the new sales strategy, they can share what they liked about the other person’s idea or generate motivation to work better as a team.”

The leader of those involved should always mediate labor disputes to provide guidance and find a faster and more thoughtful solution. You should never take sides with any of your collaborators and you should understand that you are involved in the situation just to help them solve the problem.

The leader will likely need to guide the conversation, and if tempers flare, they should redirect the topic so that their collaborators refocus on the real difference. When finding the solution that benefits all parties, you should highlight the positive aspects of the process and suggest recommended actions to take action after the meeting.

Every conflict needs a clear and precise solution that takes into account the views and hurt feelings of each of those involved. Therefore, at the end of the meeting, you should always apologize and commit to overcome the situation, learn from it and promote the conditions so that it will not be repeated.