When conflict arises among your staff…

woman sitting in silence

In a perfect world, members of any working team would live in perfect harmony, supporting and educating one another. When walking into your workplace, you are supposed to leave all your personal animosities behind the door and act professionally, no matter what. However, we are only human. Conflicts are a natural part of our social life, so you have to be prepared that sooner or later one will happen in your salon.

Now, conflict is a very broad term. You can face your employees having different opinions about a certain retail product – or a clash of worldviews so serious, that your staff will have difficulty cooperating at all. As a salon owner, you have to be ready to deal with both. How can you prevent conflicts from happening and what can you do when one actually occurs?

How to prevent conflicts from happening

Set a good example

Let’s be honest here: you can’t expect your employees to act professionally if you keep getting involved in drama. As stated in the previous sentence, the example goes from above – if you are temperamental, disorganised and inconsistent, your staff have no inclination to stay temperate. If you want your team members to be honest with you, you have to be candid with them. If you want them to solve their problems in a calm matter, you have to be a peaceful person yourself. If you scold them for a particular behaviour and then proceed to repeat their mistakes, you automatically become the most hypocritical and unreliable executive around. You lose respect and any chance to be obeyed. There is no way around it: you have to work on your personality and do the best you can to stay calm in your salon.

Establish rules and expectations

You have to be very clear about what behaviour is welcome and what will not be tolerated in your salon. Write down your salon policy, highlight the characteristics you value the most (honesty, kindness, willingness to help, and so on) and what you want to avoid (gossiping, discrimination, unhealthy competition, and so on). Let your staff members know what you expect of them on day one.

Work on communication

Encourage your employees to be honest with you – and never, ever punish for honesty! If staff members see that being open about salon problems turns against them, they learn to avoid confrontations. This way, even the smallest conflicts can grow to an unmanageable point.

Arrange staff meetings with group discussions – and learn to not favour employees that share your opinions. Also, give your team members the opportunity to talk to you privately – stay supportive and open-minded whenever some of them decide to discuss a serious issue with you. Your employees have to feel that you are there for them and that you are ready to face the truth, no matter how tough it may be.

Be fast to address the issue

Sometimes, we want to give a certain situation some time in order to confirm our convictions – which is fair – you should never act hastily. However, sometimes we just bury our heads in the sand, hoping the conflict will resolve naturally, without our intervention. Sometimes employees pull through and things go back to normal. In other cases, our passivity leads to the problem becoming more severe than it originally was. Keep a careful eye on any growing issue and act as soon as you notice that your staff members cannot deal with it themselves.

What to do when a conflict occurs

Identify the true source of the conflict

It is very important. What you see may not be what is really happening. You may notice an employee acting rough towards another – but you may not be aware that this particular employee has been harassed for the last few months and is just at the breaking point. Before making assumptions, make in-depth research of the case.

Make sure to listen to both sides

It is very easy to pick sides. You probably like one of the employees more – their arguments seem more proper and maybe you noticed something testifying in their favour yourself. However, you have to stay as objective as possible – as long as you don’t have strong evidence. If you prove you are biased, you will lose the respect of your employees – and rightfully so. Let both sides speak, even if the situation seems obvious from the beginning.

Encourage to work on solutions

This works in situations where the conflict is manageable – if we are talking about serious harassment, this chapter simply does not apply.

Try to get all sides of the conflict involved in trying to find a solution. This is the most productive and cooperative thing you can do – rather than continuing to point fingers at each other, you try to understand where everyone is coming from and find a compromise. It is a very healthy way to resolve any differences in opinion.

Find the strength to act rigorously, if you have to

Now, for the very serious cases, where things like harassment, blackmailing or discrimination are involved, you should act quickly and decisively. If one of your employees turned out to be a serious offender, there is only one solution. What’s more, you should definitely consider treating them with a disciplinary dismissal and if they actually broke the law, you should notify the authorities. Remember to support the victim – let them know that you are sorry about what happened and that you will do everything you can to make your salon a healthy place for them to work in again.

Keep a careful eye on your staff members. If you notice any unnatural behaviour, don’t hesitate to talk with them in private – it may be a personal issue, but maybe there is something wrong happening behind the scenes in your salon. Whenever you see any cases of dishonesty, malice or temper tantrums, note them in the employee section in your Versum system. This way you will be able to put two and two together quickly. Sometimes we simply forget and ignore seemingly minor incidents, but having several red flags written down makes it impossible to overlook them. Get yourself your Versum system and start managing salon conflicts before they even appear!

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