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Creating a Congenial Workplace


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I went into a retail business not to long ago and it became quickly apparent that the employees were having a dispute of some kind. While they cut off their discussion once they saw me, it is clear that they were not happy with each other.

It may be that they are usually the best of friends and that a disagreement had occurred, which caused the disruption, but the atmosphere, even though they had shelved their conflict was palpable. I was uncomfortable and had I been able to creep out without being seen, I would have done so.

Disagreements between employees, managers or owners do happen, we are, after all, human and some days are better than others. The important thing is to make sure that the conflict is not seen by customers no matter what the conflict concerns. It’s also important that managers do not correct employees in front of customers unless it is absolutely necessary.

The question is, do you respect the people that you work with, work for, or those who work for you? Working in an environment that is not comfortable leads to stress and frustration, which usually leads to a less than ideal work environment for everyone.

Whether you are an owner, manager or an employee it’s important that action is taken to resolve any problems, as if a dispute continues it may well affect others on the team. The first step is to try to work things out quickly and without escalation. Talk to the other person and see if both of you can understand the problem. Use the employee handbook as a guide if the problem is procedural. Sometimes it is as easy as a mistaken impression and making a real effort to see the situation from the point of view of the other person can solve the problem.

Ask for someone else’s opinion. It is possible to get stuck in our way of thinking and harder to see the other side.

The important thing to remember is that there are always going to be people that we are not going to be friends with, but that doesn’t mean that they, like you, are not doing a good job, even if you don’t agree with the way they are doing the job.

A tip of the glass from me to you

Elizabeth SlaterE column
by Elizabeth “E” Slater, In Short Direct Marketing

A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer’s potential than anyone in the wine industry today.

Follow E on twitter @esavant and facebook.

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