Encountering conflicts at work is a normal part of life but how a person deals with it is the real measure of his character. Having a chance to work in advertising, academe, corporate and virtual office had allowed me to see how problems and misunderstandings can be settled amicably only if two parties are driven to confront it.
And the simple way, as they say, is always the best way in troubleshooting. At most time, how the boss (or someone in the highest rank) deals with the situation reverberate how the solution is reached.
- If you are the boss and there is a brewing problem, don’t go around the bush. Don’t be sarcastic. Don’t sound mysterious. Tell your staff upfront! Tell her in the face what went wrong and don’t let her guess what you think and feel.
- Explain why it is not right, and outline ways so she can correct the mistake or improve her work.
- Talk calmly, clearly, and honestly (sounds so easy!). Allow the “culprit”-in-charged to explain her side too. And attempt to listen objectively. Nothing should be left unsaid after the discussion.
- Then move on. Don’t linger feeling bad or treating her distantly. Work like how you used to.
- Be consistent with your statement. If you tell your staff one thing, it is not fair for her to hear otherwise given a different environment. Say, at the end of your conversation, you agreed to come with her to the next client meeting and help explain the shortcomings but next day comes and you are totally detached, saying to your colleagues that you intend that she tackles it alone.
- Don’t involve anyone over issues not related to them. If there is a problem about a conduct of one manager to a particular client, discuss the matter to that person alone and resolve it together. There is no need for other employees to get in the loop of it.
- Maintain a positive attitude and learn from the mistakes of your staff, like how you learn from your own. Don’t see this fault as a ready-bullet to fire in case he commits another error.