When the Shift Hits the Fan: 8 Steps to Manage Conflict

Nov 23, 2016 | Management

Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” It’s hard to keep that perspective, though, when conflict on your c-store team is disrupting productivity. Conflict is a natural part of teamwork. The traits that make your team members unique – such as cultural background, life experience, work style, age, and personality – all affect how they get along with each other and with you. As a manager, you’re responsible for taking in all the unique characteristics of your employees to create a functional and efficient team.

Manage Conflict on Your Team

When managed quickly and effectively, conflict can actually be a good thing. Opposing views often bring about productive and positive change for your convenience store. It’s your job as a leader to manage conflict within a team so it makes the team stronger instead of tearing it apart. Follow these steps to manage conflict in a constructive way:

Step 1: Confront the conflict early. Don’t avoid conflict because you don’t want to deal with it. If you know a conflict exists, start working on a solution before the situation gets worse.

Step 2: Bring everyone involved in the conflict together. Calling a face-to-face meeting allows the two sides to communicate with each other and come to a mutual understanding.

Step 3: Facilitate respectful communication. When you’re helping employees work through a conflict, give both sides a chance to tell their side of the story without interruption.

Step 4: Listen, clarify, and restate facts. When meeting with employees about a conflict, it’s important they feel heard. Repeat key information back and ask for clarification when necessary.

Step 5: Remain objective. Treat everyone fairly and do not show any favoritism.

Step 6: Solve the issue. For most conflict, you should be able to bring both sides to a mutual agreement. If that’s not possible, it will be up to you to offer a solution.

Step 7: Gain commitment. Once a resolution is reached, ask everyone involved to commit to it. As you discuss the solution with everyone involved, focus on the future, rather than rehashing the past.

Step 8: Follow up. Set a timeframe to check back in with employees to make sure they have moved beyond the conflict and are keeping their commitments. Let them know you appreciate their efforts to work as a team.

As you work to resolve conflict in your team, remember that your role is to find solutions that best serve the ultimate goal of taking care of your customers.

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