There are NO winners when business gets nasty!

Leadership Strategies that breeds productivity…..

” Businesses forget about the culture, and ultimately, suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.”  Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos, and author of Delivering Happiness

Absolutely NO ONE WINS when the workplace environment, culture and its people get nasty! And though that would sound extremely logical to the leaders of any business, it is not as logical when they fail to address it.

Studies show that overall, most managers avoid conflict. Not because they do not want to resolve the issue, but more so because they are not trained properly to do so. Yet, left boiling, and a business culture wreaking of conflict can deplete all productivity, people and profits from a company.

Myers-Briggs Assessment and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument–commissioned a study on workplace conflict, they found that in 2008, U.S. employees spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict. This amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours (based on average hourly earnings of $17.95), or the equivalent of 385 million working days. The same study found that 36% of US Employees deal with conflict at work on a regularly or frequent basis.

Do you know the impact of clashes, conflicts and overall office politics on your business? Such as,

  • Lost productivity, contribution and collaboration from both the employees (from bottom to top) directly involved in the conflict and those surrounding it.
  • Unhappy and disgruntled employees who run from both the clashes, and the company who allows it – potentially losing skilled individuals and the investment made in them
  • Smearing of the company’s name and brand online on the many social sites which provides a vehicle for venting
  • Poor or lower than desired customer service as a direct result of the conflict surrounding the employees – therefore impacting company perception with partners, vendors/suppliers and customers

What can you do to minimize conflict within the workplace from top to bottom:

  • Whether a small business or corporate size company; establish processes, policies and governance for handling conflict throughout all levels of the business
  • Communicate the company/department/group vision, mission, goals and measurements to everyone within the company and be sure to hear out any questions, concerns, issues.
  • Ensure the leaders of the company are setting the example for appropriate problem solving, conflict-handling and overall issue management
  • Encourage constructive dissent with a focus on active listening, questioning, debating and dialoguing between the parties
  • Provide managers conflict management training and ensure managers are supported while measured for their ability to execute it
  • Gather feedback from your employees, vendors, partners and customers regarding the company image, brand, customer service, and overall satisfaction, and act on what is appropriate to have a productive, efficient and satisfied business.

RECOMMENDED READING: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Look…. anytime you bring two or more people together, you are going to have conflict. It is only natural considering the personal, cultural, religious, political and all of the other uniqueness-es there are amongst each of them. The ONE single thing you can do to ensure the success of your business, your position, and your people, is to arm yourself and them with the knowledge and tools they need to mitigate and resolve conflicts. And the cost of doing that proactively is so much less than replacing employees, handling legal issues or filling the productivity gap that just sucks profits from your company.

Remember – business is no fun when it gets nasty!

Good luck, Bernadette

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Bernadette Boas is the ball of fire behind Ball of Fire Consulting, Ball of Fire Inc. (media/publishing) and her book Shedding the Corporate Bitch, Shifting Bitches to Riches in Life and Business. Bernadette is a speaker, radio personality of Shedding the Bitch Radio, coach, and the Shedding the Bitch® movement leader.

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