Conflict is a part of any organization no matter how successful they are. I see it a lot in our voting members and to a lesser degree with our Board of Directors. Our voting members are about double the amount of the Board so I think naturally there is a little more disagreement. In order to resolve conflict, it is important to understand the reason behind the issue. Then it is important to follow through with addressing the situation immediately after being identified. Another step in resolution includes getting as much information as possible by speaking to all parties involved.
Conflict doesnt only happen with voting members and the Board, but also within the office. The most recent issue happened in a meeting last week. Our customer service rep cut someone off in a meeting out of frustration and it was definitely not done in a professional manner. It was incredibly uncomfortable as a meeting attendee not to mention her direct higher up and the CFO were in this meeting. I think that if this conflict isnt resolved, it will continue to manifest in various ways and turn into one of them quitting or getting fired.
I know that this has been brewing because I try to keep the lines of communication open around the office. Our customer service rep is frustrated with our ticketing manager because he does too much. When he steps in and goes outside of his department, he gets involved in things that he doesnt need to, puts more work on himself and ends up working additional hours that arent necessary. In this meeting, he ended up trying to take the lead which was not necessary. Our customer service rep got frustrated and I would describe her as yelling at him to tell him that this wasnt his meeting to run.
I am not in a position to necessarily intervene, however, I have been talking to my Operations Director who is the direct supervisor for both of them. If I were to be able to take the lead on this, my tactic would start with meeting with them both individually. For one, to discuss what their responsibilities are and try to work toward them staying in their lane, so to speak. There are plenty of people around to help that he does not need to be the hero. When that happens, something ends up getting neglected. With the customer service rep, her general tact is nonexistent. I think the discussion with her starts with how to communicate appropriately with coworkers. This happens to be an issue with others in the office. She could achieve a lot more if she could learn how to better approach people. This wasnt necessarily her place to step in.
I am not sure in this case, that it is necessary to bring the parties together as both issues do not seem to involve the other. If they both fixed the items I have discussed, I think it would naturally resolve any issue they have had. However, if I brought them together, the message I would convey to both is a reset of what our roles consist of. I would treat it in a way that perhaps they are unclear on what their objectives are at this point so the discussion would start with defining their roles again. Then also address that while one had reason to be frustrated, the way it was approached and the audience were definitely inappropriate. The goal within that conversation would be an understanding of where each are coming from and an apology for how it was handled.
The main goal should be a stronger understanding of where each are coming from as well as a clearer awareness of what each persons responsibilities include. As well, if there is an issue or conflict, to encourage them to talk to their higher up before they snap at each other. We do not necessarily want to lose anyone in the office at this point. Happier employees that are mission driven and motivated would be a great outcome.
Peer # Two
Background Information: Suzie is the owner and director. She is never at the location. Solely depends on office manager to run the business. Suzie on shows up to site for meeting and interviews. Linda is the office manager. She is basically running the business. She has been the office manager for the past four years, does not have a degree but 30 years of experience. Lynette is Suzies daughter. She has a bachelors degree in accounting. She did an internship at a fortune 500 company and did great, declined the job because her mom offered her on at Kustom Krazies.
Conflict: Kustom Krazies is a small local business, but just recently has been receiving national buzz from being featured on Good Morning America! Since the business has been growing quickly, Suzie (owner and director) brings in her daughter Lynette as the assistant director. Linda is upset and frustrated because Lynette does not know anything about the business. Which creates more work for Linda, because instead of Lynette asking for help, she just completes paperwork wrong and Linda has to go back and correct it. Also, Lynette has poor customer service so they have losing customers and receiving terrible reviews. Lynette has also created scheduling conflicts causing employees to be overworked and eventually quitting. Lynette does not come to work on time and takes a three-hour lunch break. She is never on time for appointments and has missed several with major accounts. The staff has overheard Lynette say several times that I am just here because this is my moms business.
What would happen if you do not attempt to solve the conflict? There is a possibility at all the staff including Linda would quit. The business would be losing money because the scheduling errors and losing customers. The reputation of the brand would become negative because of late arrival to appointments and missed appointments.
Intervention meeting: The intervention meeting would include Suzie, Linda, and Lynette. Linda will express her concerns and ideas, then Lynette will express her concerns and ideas, last Suzie will express her concerns, ideas, and reasoning for the office manager and assistant director position. Each issue would be addressed and a common solution would be made before moving to the next issue.
Messages to conflicting parties:
Suzie: You have to make sure that your employees feel appreciated and valued at the company. You also have to ensure to yourself and the company that you are hiring the right person for the job title that you have given them. You also have to be at the location to actually know what is happening with the business and the employees.
Linda: I understand that you are frustrated. You have been with the company from day one before the feature on Good Morning America! But, you still have to respect the decisions that Suzie chooses to make and show her that you are by her side.
Lynette: I understand that this is your mothers business, but you do have to remain professional. Showing up late, long lunches, and missed appointments are not professional. It does not only make the organization look unprofessional, but you look unprofessional as a person.
Goal for outcome: That everyone recognizes their strengths and weaknesses in the meeting and come to a solution that works best for that company, where it will continue to grow.
Plans: Lynette takes classes on time management and telephone and email etiquette. Lynette also learns from Linda the everyday operations. With the completion of the classes and improvement in the office, Lynette takes the role of finance manager. Linda will become that senior executive project manager taking the responsibility of scheduling and meeting with prospect accounts. Suzie will have an open door policy and review the roles of each title before assigning a job position. Suzie will also be at the location more, creating office hours for herself where she is in the office. Since the business is continuing to expand there will be customer service employees.
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