Have you ever heard the expression “if it weren’t for employees and customers, this would be a fun business.” I had a guy that I used to work for that would say that all the time. I think he was kidding, not sure. You have employees and customers and guess what, they are all people. So, whenever you have people in the equation, there will be opportunities for conflicts. How and when you address those issues are key indicators of how effectively they’ll be resolved. Throughout the process though, it’s important not to lose sight of the goal.
What’s the goal? This goes back to the challenge of having your team aligned and understand why they are working at your company (besides the paycheck). In my experience, the clearer this goal is, the less chance of conflict. It doesn’t mean there will never be any conflicts, but probably fewer.
In Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni identifies the five dysfunctions that each team needs to be aware of and to master in order to work together effectively. These range from absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. It’s a quick read and you’ll probably recognize situations that you’ve either seen, or experienced in your career. Having a good understanding of these dysfunctions can help in resolving conflicts in your organization. When tackling conflicts, these will help to place a focus on someone’s behavior, and not just the person.
Try to separate the symptoms of conflicts into aptitude versus attitude buckets and don’t ignore them by kicking the can down the road. Addressing conflicts early can help minimize their negative impact and distraction on your business—and even better, save an employee who may have lost their way. Keep your eyes on the big picture when addressing conflicts, and don’t lose sight of the goal.
I welcome any thoughts or questions, please add them below or reach out to me directly.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic counsel, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in Printing Impressions