Team-member disputes can slow your business down and possibly affect your customers; in a worst-case scenario, they may escalate into costly legal actions. You may not find it easy to prevent heated disagreements from cropping up among your team members, but you may discover that you can defuse them before they get out of hand.

Differences in personality and viewpoints can give rise to conflict, especially in a fast-paced and demanding work environment. How you manage the situation could determine how effectively your team works out mutually agreeable solutions.

Putting out the fires

As noted by Inc. magazine, bringing issues out into the open when you first become aware of them could resolve matters before workplace gossip polarizes team members into opposing camps. Initiating open discussions within an agree-to-disagree framework can help you lead the participants to a common ground.

You may find it necessary to keep your team’s focus on what type of resolution serves the overall mission and goals of the company. The success and well-being of the organization generally rank as top priorities when resolving disagreements. An occasional diplomatic but firm push in this direction could help the team stay on track.

Lessening the chances of sparks becoming wildfires

Company guidelines and a written code of conduct help clarify how employees should interact when navigating conflict. As described by Forbes magazine, new hires can know from their first day what the company expects from them in terms of behavior, professionalism and legal compliance.

A code of conduct could help protect a company from potential harassment or discrimination lawsuits. As a written document, it may serve as evidence to prove the efforts made to proactively address issues of questionable behavior.