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If you find yourself caught in the middle of two feuding colleagues, you might be asked to document the arguments you’ve witnessed. For example, one of your colleagues may ask you to verify his or her point of view, or a manager or human resources officer might ask you to submit a statement outlining your perception of the exchange. Whichever the case, make sure your statement is objective and accurate.
Your superior will probably have a form for you to use to write your statement. If no specific form is provided, write your statement using a standard business letter or memo format. Include the date at the top, who the letter is going to, and the subject matter.
Stick to the Facts
When you're writing a statement on co-workers arguing, only mention information that’s relevant to the issue. Include the date and time of the argument and the exchange of words you witnessed as closely and accurately as you remember them. Don't include information you are unsure about. Also, don't elaborate on what you think was behind the argument or what led to it unless asked by a supervisor to provide these kinds of details.
Leave Out Personal Feelings
Keep your personal feelings and emotions in check when writing your statement. If you have a friendship with one of the parties involved, or dislike one of them, it could cloud your judgment and prevent you from giving an unbiased account of what happened. Remain objective and don't allow previous experiences to impact how you portray the incident.
Be prepared for your company's conflict mediator, your boss or a human resources representative to call you in and ask you to elaborate on your written statement in person. You might be asked specific questions to help the mediator get to the bottom of the dispute and ascertain exactly what happened. Again, don't give your personal opinion unless specifically asked. Even then, be judicious in how you respond.
Make sure your statement is clear and concise, and includes only what you personally witnessed. An example would be the following: “On Friday, June 5, I was in the break room with John Doe and Jane Smith. John asked Jane why she didn’t turn the marketing report in the night before, and Jane said it was John’s responsibility, not hers. John called Jane a ‘lazy slacker’ and said she was bringing down the rest of the department. Jane started to cry, called John a jerk, and walked out of the break room.”
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Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.