Resolving conflict by insisting on accountability
March 11, 2015

Working in an accounting firm can be a hot bed for stress during busy season. Accountants are trusted with other people's money and that can sometimes be a source of anxiety. You work in an environment where stressors can run rampant and tensions can be high, regardless of what date is approaching on the calendar.

Unfortunately, issues can arise between employees that may be difficult to work through, and this is when a manager needs to intervene. A simple mediation session may be just the thing to get everyone back on track and ready to face the new challenges of the day. 

The root of the problem
Often times, conflict occurs because people find it easier to lash out at others than to deal with their real feelings. This is an unfortunate side-effect of stress or perhaps people prefer to keep their feelings under-wraps, but it's something that is indeed a hindrance to resolving conflict. The mediator should start out by asking where each involved party would like to begin, according to the Harvard Business Review. This leaves the floor open for each employee to get out what they need to say. Managers should only interfere with this part of the conversation to ensure that there are no interruptions and that only kind language is used. Each party should react to the other's statement, respectfully of course, and the dialogue can continue from there. Occasionally, conflicting parties will need more structure in order to resolve a conflict in which case non-violent communication would be the good option for the office. 

Non-violent communication
This method of conflict resolution separates a person's wants from his or her needs and helps parties articulate what is necessary for the business to move forward. A specific aspect of NVC is that there is no blame placed on the other members of the session. The step-by-step process is an ideal formula, as only one person is able to speak at a time. Expectations for each step are clearly outlined as to reduce confusion and increase the time spent working on the problem at hand. The combating parties should enter the mediation space with a mind geared toward resolution instead of anger to achieve maximum results. 

Tension is normal in the business world, especially when your trade is dealing with money. Keeping everyone in the office accountable for their feelings and actions is a good way to manage and mitigate conflict. 

Nexus: G-WEBCD2