BUSINESS SOLUTIONS | PERSONNEL
12 Tips for Managing Conflict Within
By Erin Carey
Erin Carey, retail
store and business
for the Dermalogica
flagship in Santa Monica, CA,
leads a team of 10 professional
Apowerful, effective business often is likened to a purring car engine. But even the most
finely tuned, perfectly calibrated
engine is a hotspot of sparks,
pressure, friction, heat, flammable
liquids and potential danger.
Skin care facility owners and
managers should learn to trust their
gut and get closer to their team,
starting by following these 12 tips.
1. Lead by example. This
means so many things, but in the
specific area of conflict prevention
and resolution, it means never
bad-mouthing anyone related to
the business. Maintain a corporate
culture of respect. You may listen to
the complaints of other employees—
in fact, document these—but resist
the urge to chime in. Be discreet and
give people privacy to air grievances.
2. Create and work from a team
manual. Putting rules in writing
prevents blaming and confusion. The
manual’s top 10 points—the “Golden
Rules”—should be hung where team
meetings are held.
3. Hold regular team meetings.
Managers often stop having
meetings when the engine seems
to be running smoothly, until the
internal combustion suddenly gets
hot! The fact is, this rarely happens
overnight. Staying in touch with the
team through weekly meetings will
help prevent problems from going
undetected. Managers should make
themselves available at all times for
any team member with a concern.
4. Spend time on the floor.
It’s important for management to
observe team members in their
day-to-day job functions. They may
be making mistakes, breaking policy
or are not being mindful of a fair
sales rotation on the selling floor—
which can all lead to team conflict.
5. Make performance standards
explicitly clear. Every team
member should understand her
job requirements, the standard of
performance expected, how that
performance will be measured and
rewarded, and should regularly
receive performance reviews.
6. Start all new hires in a front
desk role. Often there is a sharp
divide between the front and back
of the spa. Eliminate this split in
order to prevent conflict. Plus, it’s
important that the entire team be
fluent in front desk tasks for ongoing
respect and support for all.
7. Create a supportive
environment for learning. Conflicts
can arise between senior team
members and new hires due to the
learning curve. Personally spend time
coaching all new team members.
Remind senior employees that
everyone struggles, and newbies in
particular need the support of the
team in order to be successful.
8. Become a detective. If it feels
like something is wrong, there’s a
good chance it is. Always be present
and available for the team, but
remember that more will be learned
by observing first-hand than by
asking direct questions.
9. The problem may be a policy,
not a person. If there’s trouble,
the source may be a long-running
business practice or policy the
company has in place that needs
10. Examine the commission
structure. This is a common source
of friction in skin care facilities.
Today, some spa business experts
recommend that commission never
exceed 41–43% of total gross salary,
based upon employee productivity
11. Reconsider how incentives
are structured. Those sales contests
may backfire and spark jealousy.
Make sure any programs can benefit
all team members. For example,
rather than awarding a larger prize to
the top seller, try awarding a smaller
prize to every team member when
they reach a specific goal.
12. Listen to troublemakers.
Occasionally, a team member is truly
a bad apple that must be plucked
and removed. However, even these
potentially dangerous individuals
may reveal larger truths that are
limiting the business.
Sometimes, unhappy team
members are unhappy for good
reason. Give them a private audience
and find out more. The conversation
may be valuable, even if the company
ultimately terminates the individual