This question is meant to see how you handle conflict in the workplace. If you don’t have an example of a time when you had a resolve a dispute between two employees, then give an example how you would hypothetically resolve the situation. The interviewer would like to see that you are thoughtful in challenging conditions and able to be the voice of reason when needed.
"I believe that it is important to address issues between colleagues when both parties have calmed down. I would make sure each person heard the other side, so both are acknowledged. Lastly, I would make sure a solution is provided to move forward. Also, I could bring someone from HR to sit in and listen as well. Those are the steps I would take if I had to mediate a conflict."
"There are often small conflicts between my production staff on matters of safety, quality assurance, and procedural issues. If left unattended, things will quickly escalate since we work in a high-stress environment. When I sense a conflict, I will call a meeting between the arguing parties. They don't leave my office until they can agree on a solution and shake on it. This approach works well, and I have yet to lose an employee over an unsettled argument."
"We marketing and creative types can become very passionate about our approaches to projects. Recently I witnessed two project managers, who were collaborating with a large client, arguing quite heavily about what direction to take a particular ad campaign. I suggested they have an anonymous team vote. The most voted idea wins. I created a quick online poll through SurveyMonkey and sent it to our entire staff of 400. It was a landslide for one particular idea, and the argument settled."
"As a retail sales manager, the most frequent disagreement between employees will occur over commission disputes on shared customers. I created a way for our system to offer split commissions in these instances. Rather than continue to resolve the issues on a case-by-case basis, I also created a department policy in which it's apparent who gets the commission and when, based on the behavior of the customer, amount of interaction, and amount of time passed."
"Two of my buyers were continually bickering a few months ago. It started in a bit of jest and good spirits but quickly deteriorated as one felt the other was attempting to be his boss. It made working with them, or even near them, an unpleasant experience. I was able to speak to them both individually and get to the root of what was bothering each of them. By hearing each of their sides, without the other around, I was more prepared to address the issue when the three of us sat down together. I acted as a mediator and got them both talking about what was bothering them or where the disconnect lay. I was able to coach them into a meaningful conversation."
"I typically don't have to intervene in employee disputes, but in any setting that I sense tension or some disagreement, I will confidently step in as the intermediary, and encourage respectful conversation."