Being caught in the middle between he said, she said complaints at work is one place you never want to be. But it’s also one executives may be predisposed to run into.
Whether you’re the designated moderator, the he or the she, Arden Coaching has a solution for moving past these toxic team disagreements. Find out what our coaches say about getting past he said, she said disputes at work below.
He Said, She Said Resolve Step #1: Get Back to the Facts
He said, she said disputes revolve around interpretations of what each party thinks happened from their own point of view, not what actually took place. So stripping away the embellishment that each person adds to his or her side of the story is a necessary step in finding a solution.
Here’s an opinionated response that could surface during a dispute: “Well, John didn’t want to take the project on anyway!”
With a statement like this, you need dig a little deeper to find out how this person came to this conclusion. Consult the other party. Maybe John didn’t respond to an email that was sent not because he wasn’t interested in the project, but because he had a full plate and problems at home on his mind.
For comments like these, peeling away what he and she made the facts mean will help you get on the road to a cleared up dispute.
He Said, She Said Resolve Step #2: Get He and She to Open Up
You can’t come full circle from one of these disputes until each party is willing to take a positive direction forward. This first step can be the largest hurdle for he and she to get over largely because firmly held disagreements are often comprised of statements that have challenged each party’s belief system.
To get past pointed comments and differences in opinions, each party has to be willing to be ready to give up something that, until this point, was something they believed in.
He Said, She Said Resolve Step #3: Bring a Third Party
Getting back to the facts and encouraging he and she to open up isn’t the easiest thing to do. In some cases, complaints can grow even stronger, depending on what each party feels is at stake.
If you don’t feel as though immediate resolve is developing in steps one and two, bringing in someone from your company’s HR department or from outside the organization can facilitate understanding so that each party can progress further.
A mediator from outside the situation brings an objective lens to what happened, something that both parties are likely to respond to better over someone who tries to intervene from inside the company.
As our fellow Arden coach and offsite facilitation pro Plum Cluverius introduced to us in her post on the Dreaded Drama Triangle, he said, she said disputes become tricky territory for many execs and team members. Pushing through them takes a little perspective and initiative—two aspects our executive coaches happen to be masters of.