Maybe you are locked in a cubicle with Johnny Slob and wish he would file his own paperwork.  It may be that you’re the boss. When the product went out damaged to your best client, nobody in the plant knew a thing about it.  It may be that the last paperclip got bent into a wire doll and now you’re late for the biggest presentation of your life.  No matter role you play in a business there’s going to be conflict.  Whenever you have people competing for resources you have a competition.  That competition creates conflict.  Yes there are extreme examples, but most conflict is mundane. How you deal with conflict, on whatever level can be the difference to your business making it or being a statistic.  What are ways to deal with conflict?

14745821-isolated-young-business-man-refuseI Don’t Wash Windows

Clear job descriptions in your business are the first step to reducing conflict.  This comes down to making clear protocols and policies.  All successful franchises have very specific norms of acceptable behaviors scripted out.  This is simply a way for people to understand what they are supposed to be doing to improve your business.  If there are moments where two people are letting an issue impact the bottom line  you need more than a boss saying, “…because I said so…”  People want to feel like they are meeting expectations and fulfilling the role they have been given.  They have less reason to harbor ill feelings about what is happening in the workplace when this occurs.  If you have hired someone with an extreme skill set, who generates a great deal of conflict, you need to decide on if the trade off is worth the earnings.

Deal With Conflict More Often

“Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.”-  Lao Tzu.  Many small conflicts are avoided because people spend so much time standing on ceremony or ignoring a problem behavior.  When people avoid expressing how they feel about a given situation things can fester.  If you are the manager, then handling small fires on daily basis works better than sitting in your office until someone blows their stack.  Dealing with conflicts in an assertive, positive way, helps people go back to being productive. The goal of dealing with multiple small conflicts is to change the communication patterns so that bigger issues surface less often.

positive-thinkingBe the Change you Want to See

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”- Ghandi.  One of the main ways to reduce conflict is to model assertive statements and behaviors. If you feel like your blood is boiling ask yourself, “If I got hit by a bus on the way home, would solving this be worth it?”  Of course there is a spectrum, but there are many things that people pay attention to that maintain an environment of grumbling and non-production.  If people gossip choose to leave the room or excuse yourself.  If people blast you with an insult, try to apply the golden rule and stay positive.  Whether it is a customer, co-worker or employee, it is difficult to engage in a knock-down drag out when they know you will act in a professional manner.  Being that model, you’ll rub off on people and improve your bottom line.

It’s your turn!

What are some valuable tips that you can share about dealing with conflict in your business?  Are there any tips that you can share that works better than others you’ve tried?  Please feel free to share your tips and I look forward to reading them!