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Why can’t everyone just get along? That’s what many convenience store managers ask themselves when conflict disrupts their team’s productivity. It’s important to remember, though, that conflict in the workplace isn’t always a bad thing. Productive conflict can lead to creative policy changes, improved relationships, and unity among team members. Destructive conflict, on the other hand, can degrade team morale and make management tasks tricky at best.

Stop Conflict Before It Starts

While you do want to encourage productive dialogue in the your convenience store, you’ll save a lot of time and trouble if you practice proactive conflict management. Follow these four steps:

Create a productive work environment. As a leader, you must clearly define acceptable workplace behavior. That means you must have zero-tolerance policies against disrespectful behavior such as discrimination and harassment. Also make it clear what other behaviors aren’t acceptable, such as gossip, favoritism, and sabotage. Set the example for your team with your own behavior.

Pick your battles. Sometimes, you can unintentionally give legitimacy to minor conflicts between team members just by getting involved. Provide problem-solving and conflict resolution training to your managers and employees so they have the skills they need to resolve issues themselves. With proactive conflict management, you should only need to get involved when customer service or productivity are at risk.

Identify hot topics among your staff. You can sometimes ward off conflict by addressing issues before they become heated debates. Be aware of what issues might flare tempers and take action before people have a chance to get upset. Use problem-solving steps to address divisive topics as part of your proactive conflict management strategy.

Unite around common goals. Successful teams work together toward a shared mission. Keep your team’s goals top-of-mind by focusing on them in team meetings, employee evaluations, and rewards and incentive programs. Strong teams turn conflicts into opportunities. If you don’t feel like your goals are concrete enough to unite your team, conduct a gap analysis of team performance to create goals that will work.

Conflict Resolution Online Training

Your management team will make or break your success as an organization. Our convenience store manager training delivers valuable training topics, such as conflict resolution and problem-solving, tailored specifically to your assistant managers, store managers, and district managers. Click here for more information.