That early morning I showed up for work at the coffee roasting business office to take stock and put my accounts in order before my boss comes. It was a routine for she always checks my accounts first thing when she comes into his office.
Tuesdays are always special because she comes in earlier than other days to get everything well ahead of our weekly Tuesday afternoon meeting. Many people are surprised that we have our weekly meetings on Tuesday and funny enough, in the afternoon.
Many businesses schedule their team meetings on Monday mornings. They believe that this time is good enough for team members to be on the same page on shared weekly goals. Others think it’s the most productive time.
However, my boss doesn’t think so. Our coffee roasting business is found in the heart of Kumbo, NW Region of Cameroon where the crisis has brought businesses to a standstill.
They stopped production two years ago after incurring a lot of loss. However, they are trying to setup in Douala and are looking forward to get investors who are interested in agro-transformation, especially coffee.
So if you are interested in investing in a coffee roasting business, you can get in touch with AfriStartup Inc. which is in charge of looking for investors or those who may want to buy the entire business.
Going back to my boss, she believes morning meetings aren’t good enough as some workers may want to start the day by attending to some of the important things in their to-do lists instead. Some workers may even feel sleepy at such a time.
As for her choice of Tuesdays, she says Monday is the first day of the week and a day for ‘leverage’. She believes that your mood on the first day of the week can determine your productivity. So a Tuesday meeting will put you on track or encourage you.
However, she didn’t show up to work on Monday and so I was expecting her early the next morning. She still didn’t show up even later in the afternoon for the meeting. Then my mind went to what happened the Friday before that day.
There were two chaotic workers at the coffee roasting website and things were getting hectic between them and my boss intervened. One of them accused her of being biased even though I cannot tell if she was. She felt really bad and her signs of anger could not be hidden.
Conflicts are inevitable as long as people have to interact to achieve goals within a company. Managing people in a team or work environment is not an easy task, no doubt. However, as a manager, you need to be able to know the signs in order to determine when an employee is becoming chaotic.
Conflicts have a lot of negative impact on employees as well as the productivity of the company or firm. As the manager of the company, you need to know how to resolve workplace or team conflicts.
I don’t know how my boss, who was the manager of the coffee roasting business managed the situation. I had to leave due to the intense fighting that was going on as the crisis intensified in the NW & SW Regions of Cameroon.
With what happened, my experience and some research work! I will share with you some tips to better manage conflict at workplace. It will help you to know how to deal with or avoid on-the job conflicts and maintain serenity in your company.
Instead of putting the blame directly on the employee, it will be better for you to identify the source of worry. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Avoid dwelling on the mistake and rather look for remedies without blaming the person at fault. Look for the point where the error is and encourage the person to be more vigilant henceforth.
Most often, misunderstanding amongst team members is usually due to lack of communication or misinterpretation of the information passed. Words, when put together can mean different things to different people. In such a situation, you should encourage interworker collaboration and devise better strategies for communication in order to avoid co-worker conflicts.
This is quite tricky, but very important. Put in place channels for addressing conflicts and give opportunities for conversations. This makes conflict resolution easy and meets up with the team’s expectation on how to deal with uncomfortable situations.
Don’t duel on the differences of the conflicting individuals. Bring out their similarities in order to make them see their common aspects which will encourage them to work well together.
Listen to both parties attentively and base your judgement on fairness without blaming or penalizing anyone. As manager in such a situation, you should not only be compassionate or empathetic – you need to also remain professional during such discussions.
Allowing the individuals verbalise their worry will help you identify the core issue and hence help you approach the problem. Always educate employees or team members to accept and appreciate their differences. People have different backgrounds and mentality. Accepting that everyone has a point of view which may be different from that of others is a step ahead in resolving conflicts.
Do this keeping in mind the goals of the organisation and ensuring the satisfaction of the parties. Forcing or imposing on both parties may be relevant sometimes but agreement is often the best option. Provide room for learning and actively involve the workers in common tasks to strengthen their collective collaboration towards resolving their issues.
You should know that your employees are the lifeblood of your business. It is therefore worthy for you to help them get back on track during difficult times. Doing this will greatly improve performance and productivity in your company.
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By Leticia Tamanji (intern) – Edited by Kermann Lobga
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