There will always be conflict in the workplace as long as there is more than one person employed. Conflict is a distraction that makes employees unproductive and negativity breeds negativity so this needs to be nipped in the bud right away. Bringing groups of individuals together, asking them to do their best, pushing them to do better will bring a whole mess of conflict, some of it will be easy to solve, some of it will really challenge you. As a manager, it is your responsibility to stop it before it escalates to a divisive office environment or worse, violence. Many times egos, emotions and some variation of communication gets in the way of your team doing their jobs well.
As a manager, you need to step in immediately when you hear there is conflict brewing. The longer you wait, the more corrosive it will be to your environment. When you step in, have both parties involved tell you “their side” of the argument and truly listen to what they are saying. While talking with them, ask them for their solution to the argument/conflict. By actively listening, you will be able to hear both sides and come up with a compromised solution.
If you are known for playing favorites, your chances of credibility and full resolution are slim. Frankly, by having favorites, you create a hostile work environment for your employees, no one (that doesn’t feel they are your favorite) will come to you with problems, worst-case scenario, they quit. That will lose the company time and money.
Managing people effectively requires the utmost level of professionalism, you must maintain it while dealing with sometimes hot conflict. Have both parties cool down a little and come together to solve the problem. After a mutual resolution has taken place, let both parties know that they now need to move on, no need or time to dwell on the past.
If you are able to create an environment where your employees feel comfortable coming to you to communicate needs and you are able to effectively keep your emotions out of resolutions, you will have a well-working department that knows when conflict arises, you will help them solve it.