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Avoiding Conflict
Conflict in the workplace, or at home, or anywhere is both ugly and destructive. Unfortunately conflict is inevitable when people are under pressure and from time to time, other people's opinions differ from their own. In a business, conflict can totally destroy the ambience and relaxation that clients come to hair and beauty salons and spas for in the first place. Conflict arises whenever individuals have different values, opinions, needs, interests and are unable to find a middle way.

Conflict resolution is often called conflict management however, I believe conflicts need to be resolved, not just managed. And with the right leadership approach, 90% of conflicts could be avoided in the first place.

How to deal with conflict. Well, I suppose the best way to win an argument is to not have one in the first place. Easier said than done? Here are a few things you can do to actually minimise the causes of conflict.

Create a strong Salon or Spa Culture. These are the salon's rules, regulations, values, philosophies, mission statement, policies and procedures. These are the things that make your business great. Great for whom? Everybody, every stakeholder that has an interest in the success of your business - your clients, your staff, owners, product suppliers, even SARS.

 
 
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During disagreements in the salon or spa, protecting these values becomes the main priority and staff need to understand exactly how important the salon or spa culture is. Once a business is opened it has a right to be successful. Exactly the same rights that staff are entitled to - the right to be happy, the right to their own opinion and the right to be successful. However, nobody has the right to deny others of their right to be happy and successful.

Before entering the salon or spa, staff need to leave all their personal "issues" on an imaginary hook outside the salon or spa and enter the salon everyday with the primary thought "what more can I do to make the business more successful?” This shows the salon or spa has a strong salon or spa culture. If staff continue to have a difference of opinion just send them to a coffee shop until they can agree on something. Teach the John Maxwell's 101% theory in building relationships i.e. find just one thing to like about the other person and put 100% of your effort behind that one thing.

Regular staff meetings to discuss the state of the business is not only a good idea, it is essential to keep everybody on the same page by sharing the successes of the salon or spa as well as areas for improvement. Staff meetings should not just be about housekeeping - controlling costs, punctuality etc, they should also be brainstorming sessions where everybody has to contribute. Neither should they be bitching sessions where individuals are picked on for wrong-doing. The golden rule for respect-based leadership is “complement in public but criticise in private.”

Another technique for avoiding conflict is by having a 'Beefs and Bouquets' component to your staff meeting. Allow each staff member to voice one complaint about something they are not happy with about something or someone in the salon... However, they must also voice something they like about that same person or thing.

Positive feedback from clients always boosts morale during a meeting. Encourage clients to comment on their salon experience in a 'Compliments & Complaints' book and get each staff member to take turns reading the comments to the rest of the staff.

The most successful way to pre-empt conflict in the salon or spa is by having regular one-on-one sessions with every staff member. This is a fool-proof strategy for dealing with under-performance, unsatisfactory behaviour and disciplinary issues.

Conflict often comes from misunderstanding. For example, a staff member might think they are not being given a fair share of walk-in business or that they are not being paid fairly. This is where KPI reports from My Salon Software provide the facts of the matter. KPI's or Key Performance Indicators show a complete picture of your business - by staff member, by department, by day and by date (monthly, quarterly, annually).

These are just a few ideas that will assist in 90% of avoidable conflict.

Please feel free to contact us about this or any other challenges you may be experiencing in your business.


This blog is one of a series of business insights which can be accessed on www.mysalonsoftware.co.za. If you have any questions or specific requests please email info@mysalonsoftware.co.za.

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Showing Leadership in Tough Times
The events of the past week have certainly redefined “tough times” – unprecedented events exploding around KZN and Gauteng and creating additional stress, chaos and hardship at a time when things have been far from easy.
 
What’s been interesting is to see the different reactions of salons to this.
 
From one salon owner declaring, “This is it! I’m out of here and leaving SA!” on social media, to another immediately offering messages of strength and support, to another continuing to publish gorgeous, inspiring photos of work, to another becoming a communication hub to check in on KZN salons and try to assist in getting help. One salon owner whose premises had been completely looted, turned to the Lockdown group to ask for assistance but amazingly, in the circumstances, did so in a positive way and expressed her desire to rebuild and come back stronger. One brave salon owner, during the midst of all of this, announced the opening of her new salon in Hillcrest this past weekend! Clearly, nothing was stopping her!
 
So many different reactions to one event and leadership was shown by many salons in many different ways. It was interesting to see that those salons who continually are the most successful and high profile, are always the ones who show positive leadership and back it up by their actions. When times are tough it’s what people want to see.
 
Here are some guidelines for showing leadership in tough times.
 

  1. Think before you post on social media. Negative and destructive words are forever (even if they are removed, screen shots are forever) and can scar deeply. If you feel the need to post something, rather pick up the phone and call a friend. Once you have had a long heart-to-heart, then decide if you still feel so strongly about venting your feelings to the world in published format, forever to be associated with your name.
     

  2. In times of crisis, people don’t want more negativity and don’t want to feel abandoned by salons announcing they’re leaving / closing / emigrating. As leaders in the community, salons can play a very powerful role in uplifting morale, bringing the community together, and leading the charge in rebuilding – whether it’s repairing physical premises or mending conflict. Use your powers and strive for the good, and that good will come back to you a hundredfold. People will be grateful for, and remember, those who shone a bright light in dark times.
     

  3. Check all news before you post. Don’t share anything you even suspect might be fake news. Even if it’s real news – if it’s negative, what’s your purpose in sharing it? Will it be genuinely helpful? Or will it serve to demoralise people and put additional strain on mental health and interpersonal relationships?
     

  4. In times of crisis it’s absolutely right to share all the good news, and if you yourself are helping participate in this then yes, share away – setting an example should be publicised. Whether it’s posting selfies of you doing a clean-up, or announcing that your salon has made a donation to a charity assisting with disaster management (you don’t have to specify the amount), what you are showing is that you’re part of the solution and this is incredibly comforting for people to know. At these times, it’s not blowing your own trumpet but rather, helping to heal a collectively anxious and worried society.
     

  5. Check up on your staff and clients, make sure about their safety and physical and mental well-being. Call, message, and get help if it’s needed. Do your utmost to ensure your staff are provided for. For example, in KZN, some companies in other provinces could not get food to their staff due to the disruptions and road closures, so they connected with Gift of the Givers, who has a base there, and paid for parcels to be distributed to their staff. Find a way and action it! If clients are distressed or feeling fragile, show you care. A small gesture, gift, drop-off or donation at this time means a lot and can literally make all the difference.