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Workplace conflict doesn’t resolve itself. You must step in immediately.

Two of your employees just got into an argument about how to get your home ready for an event. You never hired an estate manager (something we'll discuss more about later), so it's up to you to decide how to approach this conflict.

Do you:

  1. Let your employees figure out the problem on their own?
  2. Step and and mediate the situation yourself?

Unfortunately, there isn't an exact answer. (Wouldn't that be easy?) It depends on the circumstance. However, in both cases, you need to observe the situation carefully and know when to step in, and understand how to properly manage the conflict.

If you're not sure how, here are several tips:

1. Understand what causes conflict
Conflict is a normal part of all workplaces (and homes). People argue for a number of reasons. They could be angry about how their colleagues are managing a project, or they may be be jealous that someone just received a promotion over them. Of course, it could be a simple as having a bad day!

In any case, it's important to approach the conflict without bias. Remember, your number one goal is to resolve the problem, if possible.

2. Develop a conflict resolution strategy
Keep the following in mind: Every conflict resolution strategy is different because every workplace is too. Plans are fluid, meaning they can (and should) change with time. And there's no set way of developing a universally accepted conflict resolution strategy.

However, to start, we suggest creating a basic list of do's and don'ts, and discuss the points with all of your employees in both group and one-on-one settings. By ensuring they agree with the policies, you could help prevent conflicts or reduce the chance they escalate.

3. Communicate effectively
As the boss, it's critical you know how to communicate effectively with your employees. Again, there's no steadfast way to handle each conflict, but here's a general rule of thumb: Before you establish a solution, talk with each employee. If it's a minor issue, you could have a group discussion. However, if the problem is disrupting your household, it's likely best to avoid placing both employees in the same room – at least initially. Instead, give them time to cool down, and address the conflict shortly after by meeting with them separately.

4. Reiterate goals
While you're the arbitrator, your responsibility goes beyond addressing and solving employee conflicts. You need to reiterate individual and team goals to make sure everyone understands the big picture. In this case, it's making sure your event goes off without a hitch. 

However, it's critical that you continue to follow up with employees even after you state goals. This makes sure they're constantly striving to not only meet them but exceed them.

5. Hire an estate manager
Estate managers differ from housekeepers and personal assistants because the former runs your household. That means they're responsible for managing employee tasks and hiring and firing workers. They may even be partly responsible for asset management.

These managers are leaders, and therefore they understand how to reduce damage caused by conflicts and how to help disgruntled employees find common ground.

Often, home owners believe they can perform the same responsibilities as an estate manager. However, ask yourself this: Are you working next to your chef, housekeeper, nanny and houseman all day? Estate managers are, and therefore they may have a better chance of keeping their finger on the pulse of your staff, squashing conflicts before they turn into major issues.

Conflict resolution cost employers a lot of money, and employees spend many hours managing conflicts. Expectations (whether they're from consumers, supervisors or heads of households) continue to grow, making it more challenging for employees to meet their objectives on time. The old adage "time equals money" certainly rings true in many business situations, including those that take place in a home. That's why it's critical you don't let conflicts waste time. Make sure they're resolved immediately.

If you're interested in hiring domestic staffing professionals to complete domestic jobs around your home, talk to a domestic staffing agency. Contact Colonial Domestic Agency today! We'll introduce you to the perfect family that fits your background and helps you meet your goals.