For progress, a business needs human interaction for ideas and innovation. Sometimes, argument, debate and conflict prove to be productive catalysts for high performance.

Of course, such catalysts can be obstacles to success, too.

A perfectly running organization is like a high-performance race car. Like all high-performance machines, well-managed organizations need ongoing attention and maintenance.

Otherwise, poor morale and teamwork, and conflict lead to losses in profit.

Here are the simplest steps to manage conflict:

1. Be a good role model 

Managers become leaders — in leading by example. The list is long for steps to bolster a culture of mutual respect. That includes good listening skills, using discretion and being respectful. 

Water-cooler gossip must be discouraged. Listen to the complaints and document them. Be fair. Don’t fan the flames of discontent. 

2. Walk the floor twice a day

Managers succeed in part by observing their employees, and engaging them with open-ended questions. Show empathy, and interest in their work and personal lives. Encourage a career/life balance.

A perfectly running organization is like a high-performance race car.

3. Create and use a manual 

This minimizes and helps to prevent confusion and nebulous communication. Make it visible and obvious.

4. Review policies 

If you have teamwork issues, remember you might have problems with the policies not the people. Evaluate practices, procedures and policies. 

5. Examine your performance-appraisal process 

Check to make sure you are fair and accurate in how you evaluate the performance of your team members. That is accomplished by developing a mindset for leadership in performance reviews.

You must conduct regular employee-performance reviews with confidence and take steps to see that employees feel they get valid feedback.

Standards should be explicitly clear. If a team member doesn’t understand job requirements that’s the fault of the manager not the employee. The employee should be told how performance will be measured and recognized.

Team members deserve to know three things:

— What’s expected

— How they’re doing

— What’s in in for them

6. Strive for effective communication and team meetings

When your organization is running well, don’t take it for granted. Regular meetings will help you prevent problems from rearing their ugly heads without your knowledge. Be accessible between meetings.

7. Encourage a positive learning curve for employees

Conflicts occur when there’s not a supportive environment for learning. Invest time in coaching. Make sure each new employee has a mentor for support.

8. Keep your eyes open

Be a good observer — like a private eye or detective. Ask questions, but focus on observing. You’ll learn more that way.

9. Focus on succession planning

You might need to hire people for certain skilled positions. But long term, you’ll be better off if you hire new people to start at lower positions and make it possible for them to work their way up.

Employees will be better able to learn your organization. You will encourage employee loyalty, and you’ll enhance your prospects for strong morale.

10. Continue to observe and listen

Listen to all complaints even from your most difficult employees. True, some employees must be terminated, but some are merely devils advocates who need to be heard.

There might be good reasons for their discontent. Listen to them privately to learn what they think and how they feel. You might be surprised, pleasantly, at what you learn.

From the Coach’s Corner, here more management tips:

Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations — Questions may arise about human resources. How to properly evaluate employees? Here are the answers.

Easy Ways to Boost Your Employees’ Morale — Employee morale affects performance. Study after study shows a significant percentage of worker morale is mediocre, at best. That’s often the case even for companies that are able to pay competitive wages and benefits. As you might guess, it’s a bigger quandary for business owners that don’t have enough cash flow for raises.

Strategies: If a Valued Employee Wants a Raise, and Money’s Tight — In this economy, whether you operate a large or small company, trepidation of higher payroll expenses can turn your hands cold with perspiration. That’s especially true when talented employees suddenly ask for a raise. Talented workers are an asset – your human capital.

Red Flags You’re Losing an Employee — In employee retention, you never have to be surprised again. There are common traits among employees who are likely to quit — even those who are secretive about their plans.

13 Management Tips to Solve Employee Absenteeism — Absenteeism causes migraines for a lot of bosses. Obviously, your company will make healthier profits, if you don’t have an absenteeism problem. Check your attendance records. Monday is the most-abused day of the week and January is the worst month for absenteeism.

“Kindness is in your power, even when fondness is not.”

-Samuel Johnson


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.