There is no ideal time or location in a retail environment to have interpersonal conflict with others, and when they do occur most people will put off a conflict discussion with a colleague or their Manager. Ultimately, it’s because people think they have more to lose than gain from having such a discussion. More specifically, it includes the fact that some people:
The best way to manage workplace conflicts is to minimise misunderstandings.
”People don’t get along because they fear each other. People fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they have not properly communicated to each other.” Martin Luther King Jr
This quote clearly illustrates that conflict is often linked to ineffective communication. Therefore, to minimise misunderstandings there are some things retailers should focus on as a team;
Signs of workplace conflict
Unfortunately, often when a workplace conflict is not handled quickly when it is a small issue, it will lie dormant and eventually explode into a much larger issue than it needed to be, destroying relationships and trust.
Each conflict is different. But all conflicts will gain momentum the longer they are allowed to exist and become much harder to deal with. This is why it is so important to stay alert to signs of potential or underlying conflict, so you can get on top of it early and ‘nip it in the bud’!
The Conflict Curve
The Conflict Curve is a great tool that will assist you in understanding the signs of conflict. The theory behind the Conflict Curve is that a conflict situation will rarely go from Discomfort toCrisis without some clues taking place that are obvious when you are aware of them. The tip is to recognise the clues at the stage of conflict, and manage it accordingly.
Think of conflict resolution, as reaching a joint understanding. You are trying to create a win-win for both people involved. Here are some tips to help you reach agreements with other team members:
Conflict planning questions
Sometimes when you are going to have a difficult conversation with another team member it is a good idea to jot down a few notes, so that you are clear and feel more confident before starting the conversation.
1. What are the facts surrounding this situation?
2. What are the critical issues for me?
3. What appears to be the significant differences in the way we both see this issue?
4. Who can l consult in advance to get some advice or further information?
5. What options or solutions are available for solving this situation? Given the situation, which options or solutions will I recommend?
6. How is this person likely to react? What will l do if the other person becomes angry, defensive and emotional or denies there’s a problem?
7. What questions will I ask to encourage involvement?
8. What will I do to remain positive and in control of my emotions?
How do you manage workplace conflicts? The ARA Retail Institute provides industry leading workshops for sales and service excellence.
Find more information about the services provided by The ARA Retail Institute here.