Managing neutrality and impartiality in the workplace isn’t always easy. We are human after all; afflicted by our own inner thoughts, a variety of emotions and opinions. So executing impartiality with colleagues is a clever balancing act; a learned skill that every boss, manager or HR officer should try to acquire. Training yourself to be objective in any employee related incident is important if you want to improve company morale and create a fair, non-discriminatory environment for workers. Ultimately, this will help to resolve problematic issues within teams and boost overall staff retention. Here are some ways you can better manage your ability to stay neutral in any professional situation.
Leave Your Biases at the Door
Conducting investigations of employee behaviour or disputes between two people can be a complicated task. When handled properly and professionally, you can avoid issues such as further friction, low morale or costly litigation. If you decide to tackle these matters in house, it’s important that you leave your own biases out of it. Always remain neutral to the situation (and the people involved) and give everyone a fair chance to vocalise their thoughts / feelings no matter their race, religion, cultural background, upbringing, neighbourhood / hometown, political stance, age or gender.
Don’t Take Sides
Never let your own suspicions sway you into taking sides. It’s natural to want to sympathise with a particular party, especially if someone claims to be victimised or appears hurt / upset. But always remember that taking sides is not being impartial. And it’s important to remind yourself that all situations are different, and all have the power to surprise. Sometimes, there is a victim and a perpetrator. Other times, the victim turns out to be the perpetrator. And most times, both parties are victims and perpetrators to one another. So have an open mind and remain neutral because you never know what the outcome may be.
Encourage Open Dialogue
The easiest way to resolve a problem in the workplace is to allow people the freedom to express themselves. Whilst it’s essential to schedule in private meetings, it’s just as important to encourage group discussion. For instance open dialogue between two opposing parties can often be the quickest way to come to a solution. Appoint a mediator (HR manager or line manager) to lead the agenda, to keep all discussions on track, and to ensure that debates never turn into full blown arguments.
Be Honest With Yourself
If you are unable to remain neutral about a particular workplace issue, it’s imperative that you take the right action and remove yourself from the situation. Don’t let your biases or personal relationships cloud your judgement and try to have better awareness of your own emotions. Emotions can affect your decision making and control the way you behave, so having a better understanding of your own feelings is important. As soon as you feel that you are no longer able to manage your neutrality and impartiality, appoint someone else at your level who can, or take the investigations out of house. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so even if you have minor concerns, consult someone else for help.