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Common Questions and Answers
One of my first career mentors taught me one of the most important lessons in management, and I’ve applied it to companies I’ve consulted with ever since. This lesson didn’t come in the form of a fancy quote or well crafted words of wisdom. It was a behavior. It was action. And it can only be painted by putting his process to words.
Whenever there were conflicts… Wait, let me rephrase that. Every Monday when most employees came into work for meetings and workshops, you could bet on some drama to surface and end up in his office.
After probing and digging for all of the info, almost at mid-sentence and right in the middle of the conversation he would excuse himself, leave the “complainant” in his office and return within 30 seconds with the “defendant.”
He would make the statements made by the complainant, the defendant would explain his side of the story, and almost always the trial would end with sappy “I’m sorries” and happy handshakes.
It gets more comfortable the more you do it.
I admit it that the first few times, doing this myself was not easy at all. It’s just downright uncomfortable. But not doing it was even worse. Often (pretty frequently)–almost always–unaddressed frustration would build up to the point of a blowout. And then you end up with people who can’t work together and quit. Lots of work on your part going right down the drain because of a stupid misunderstanding.
I have seen managers send out emails to discuss conflicts prior to engaging in a head-to-head conversation. I have seen people worried for days with their heads not right and unable to work while waiting for the day of the match set in all of their calendars. Meanwhile, can you see the stares and scoffs flying around the office?
Dealing with conflict head on, without wishy-washiness and without delay has proved to be the single most effective sales management tool I’ve ever learned.
Since most conflicts are created due to simple misunderstandings, once the misunderstanding is settled everyone can walk away with a win.
I’ve just recently observed a high-level entrepreneur picking up the phone to call another pragmatic business owner to deal with a confrontational issue dead on. Face-to-face. Mano-a-mano.
There was a lot of tension between these two guys before this conversation. And even as they started talking, you could hear the crowd chanting “fight, fight, fight!” in the background. And it ended…well. They could even be doing business with each other soon!
Don’t let your guts (or the lack of) get the best of you. Take care of your business right then and right there. Get your company and relationships running and back into order right away. There’s no time to waste and much, much money to gain.
About the author