About 2 weeks ago, I went to get a haircut in my second choice barber shop. My favorite barber was out of town. One of the barbers had a misunderstanding with the receptionist and my haircut that normally takes about 20 to 25 minutes took an hour that day. The barber was shaving and quarreling with the receptionist at the same time. My efforts to get him to concentrate on my haircut were all futile. The conflict included insults, non-cooperation, bullying, and anger.
But my disappointment was with the immediate supervisor’s inability to calm down the conflict between the staff and have them focus on the customers present. The truth is, she had no conflict resolution and negotiation skill.
Internal conflicts between functional staff poorly managed in any organization can cause the following:
- Reduces effectiveness (Took me one 1 hour to get a haircut).
- Customers’ satisfaction is severely affected (As I was annoyed, 3 other clients were pissed off).
- Teamwork becomes difficult.
- Violence (The male barber almost slapped the female receptionist).
Conflicts in a small business or startup and even bigger businesses are inevitable. But that does not mean you shouldn’t manage conflicts. Far from it.
Poor conflict management skills can kill your business or negatively affect the business (clients) like in the above case. It’s, therefore, the responsibility of the business owner, entrepreneur, executive or direct supervisors to master the art of conflict resolutions in the workplace with speed and maturity.
One of the best ways to prevent or minimize conflicts like these is to develop the culture of strong employee relations which include fairness, trust, and mutual respect at all levels. These seem so easy but difficult to develop the culture (I’m available as a top-notch corporate trainer to deliver this training in your organization).
What to do when conflicts arise between your staff
- Do not ignore the conflict. Take steps immediately to contain the conflict.
- Carefully understand the emotions of each team member. Then attempt to solve the conflict.
- Train your team members on emotional intelligence and mutual respect.
- Develop a clear official document stating the sanctions awaiting any staff who engages in any conflict that affects customer satisfaction.
As an entrepreneur, business executive, or leader, conflicts should, therefore, prompt the modification of policies and operating procedures in the organization.EN FR