Employee conflict resolution: handling unmet expectations


Fulling_Management_employee_conflict_resolution_large [column col="1/2"] Whether it be parenting my teenage daughters, working with clients or managing staff, I don’t like conflict. However, there are times, especially in the workplace, where a leader must address unmet expectations and be proactive about employee conflict resolution. While these conversations are often uncomfortable and sometimes tense, they are a necessary part of effective leadership.

Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, recommends the Reprimand Sandwich when it comes to having those difficult conversations. The sandwich model is pretty simple but very effective.

The Reprimand Sandwich

Three keys to employee conflict resolution related to unmet expectations:

  1. Give the person some positive input.Recognize a quality of the person such as hard work, positive attitude, excellent skills, etc.
  2. Address the issue.“There’s something we need to talk about...” “You dropped the ball on this…”Although this may be initially uncomfortable, in the long run you are guiding them to develop better work habits.
  3. Affirm the person again.Close with words of affirmation such as “I really appreciate all you do. You are a valuable asset to our team.”


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This conversation doesn’t need to take long. The employee will know they didn’t meet expectations and will understand the need to do things differently. They will also know that you value them. The courage to be proactive in employee conflict resolution will allow you to build relationships and win as a team. [message_box title="Need help with employee conflict resolution?" color="gray"]

Our business coaching services can help! Give me a call at (913) 254-7300 or email me at rusty@fullingmgmt.com to get started.