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Why great leaders don’t shy away from conflict

“The leaders who get the most out of their people are the leaders who care most about their people.” Simon Sinek I don’t normally write about specifics in my blog, but in this instance, I’m going to talk about a company where a friend of mine works as it perfectly demonstrates the point I’d like […]

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“The leaders who get the most out of their people are the leaders who care most about their people.” Simon Sinek

I don’t normally write about specifics in my blog, but in this instance, I’m going to talk about a company where a friend of mine works as it perfectly demonstrates the point I’d like to make.

What’s the point?  Basically – it’s a warning.

Avoiding conflict as a manager can be incredibly detrimental – to you, to your team, to your business.

My friend is a Sales Manager in a medium sized multi-national company. She has an amazing work ethic and is probably one of the most loyal and dedicated employees a company could wish for. However, if they do value her, it’s certainly not demonstrated.  Despite this, she is loyal to a fault to her colleagues and customers, her ultimate aim is to provide an exemplary service and she’ll do everything in her power to make that happen – no matter how difficult.

 You can hear the “but” coming can’t you?

…in a nutshell she can easily be taken advantage of, and often is, particularly at work. If something needs to be done well, everyone knows that she’s the girl, particularly the Sales Director.

The Sales Director is relatively ‘hands off’ and leaves each of the Sales Managers to look after their   territories. Not so bad so far – autonomy is a good thing and it’s positive for my friend as she is highly capable, requires minimal management and is able to manage herself. The downside to this style of leadership is that this Sales Director isn’t there to offer and provide support when it’s needed.

Another unfortunate fact is that he is resistant to conflict.

Now there are two members of the team who are particularly difficult, one has some rather toxic personality traits which results in them demanding, and receiving preferential treatment. Sadly, this means that other members of the team, including my friend, are consistently frustrated by the lack of support and recognition – despite performing better and being supportive team members and loyal employees.

Here’s the most recent example: The sales team are switching from a traditional five day working week to three-day weeks. And guess what?! The two difficult team members will be working Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday – giving them four consecutive days off, including the weekend. Whilst the other team members are having to work Monday, Wednesday and Friday… Preferential treatment to avoid potential confrontation from those who have no thought other than for their own needs and aren’t team players in any way.

How does this affect the other members of the team? They feel demoralised, frustrated and under-valued, resulting in them now looking for new jobs as soon as they possibly can. Sadly, this isn’t a particularly unusual situation, but it is completely preventable.

Many of us shy away from confrontation / conflict, it is without doubt far easier not to deal with issues. However, when you are leading a team it is imperative that bad behaviour is dealt with; not dealing with it simply re-enforces it and is likely to result in other team members feeling frustrated, disheartened and demoralised….

If this continues, businesses risk losing valuable employees, often those whose performance is superior to the disruptor. What business wants to lose their best performers because their managers don’t have the skills to deal with bad behaviour? You would like to think none!

You can help your managers and leaders deal with behaviours similar to those I have written about by providing training or coaching which is likely to result in some, if not all, of the following:

  • Improved behaviour and potentially performance by the employee
  • Improved team morale, resulting in higher overall team performance. The benefits of which can potentially be calculated by year on year team result
  • Reduced chances of employees leaving, (the average cost of replacing ONE employee is C£30,000 taking into account recruitment cost) loss of productivity, etc

Training budgets are always notoriously tight even in more affluent times. In these more uncertain times, whilst it can feel like a difficult decision to spend money on anything other than essentials, investing in your managers and leaders now can save and even make, your business money.

For more information contact me by phone 07823 451 953 or email [email protected]

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