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Conflicts and Complaints: Prevention and Resolution

Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Work hard to maintain a respectful culture that encourages open communication and reduces misunderstandings and unprofessional conduct:

– Talking 1:1, listening, and providing clear expectations,
– Constructive feedback and guidance, 
– Encouraging positivity and solutions,
– Promote self-awareness and EQ,
– Setting a respectful leadership example, and
– A no-jerks rule
When a Conflict Arises

First, check-in with yourself. What is your mindset? Does this conflict push your buttons? Did you contribute to the conflict in some way? Can you remain neutral through this mediation process? 

– Ask the parties to also check in with themselves
– Listen carefully to all parties
– Focus on behavior, not personality
– Identify points of agreement and disagreement
– Ask individuals to share perspectives
– Focus on ways to move forward
– Obtain a commitment from all parties
– Monitor and provide ongoing support 
If a Formal Complaint Arises

Always act promptly and take it seriously.

– Obtain specific details and ask about potential witnesses
– Collect any supporting documentation like emails, texts, etc.
– Interview witnesses and ask open-ended questions
– Inform the accused individual(s) and find out their side of the story
– Request the parties to maintain confidentiality during the process
– Be neutral and avoid any personal comments
– Have an objective witness/notetaker in all interviews, if possible
– Document the entire process with details
– Weigh the evidence, credibility of everyone, and any history
– Consult with experienced experts before you take any employment action 
– Follow up with the individual who filed the complaint and let them know the conclusion of the investigation
– Make certain no retaliation occurs to any party, including witnesses
– Implement any necessary policies, procedures, and/or provide training

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