Perspectives: Managing Personalities
ANY BUSINESS IS, TO A LARGE DEGREE, DEFINED BY THE PERSONALITIES WHO WORK THERE. IN THE BEST CASE, HARMONY AND TEAMWORK PREVAIL, BUT SOMETIMES, THE SAME PASSIONATE AND COMMITTED PERSONALITIES CAN ALSO BRING UNWANTED DRAMA. THREE INDUSTRY LEADERS TELL US WHAT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES ARE EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING PERSONAL TENSIONS.
VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, MATRIX
“THE MOST COMPELLING WAY for an organization to foster teamwork, engage employees and reduce personality issues is to be on purpose and be clear about the ‘why’ of what you do as a business. Employees have to know this to be engaged and committed.
“This crucial ‘why we are in business’ concept must be de ned and shared with everyone often and consistently. New people join or leave a company and times change, but your clear purpose should not. Your company’s ‘Why’ translates to what your organization does in a positive, passionate and clear way. It is what you do better than anyone else.
“Communication is key. When team members know your mission and their role in it, they, too will be on purpose regarding their own achievements. Each person should be making a contribution and it is essential that business leaders adapt the right approach to elicit these contributions and to see that they are acknowledged. There will, unfortunately, be individuals who can’t or won’t get on board and who disengage themselves from the organization. At that point they can decide to leave or remain as a negative factor. A company is like a garden. It needs constant tending, and a business leader has to know when it is time to let someone go before the negativity spreads.”
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT SALON PRODUCTS
“THREE WORDS: Communication, communication and communication. This is the foundation for harmony in all workplaces, yet is can be one of the most difficult practices to maintain. We continuously strive to make sure that everyone at Essential Salon Products, from warehouse staff to corporate executives, are all engaged in achieving the same common goals.
“We believe that everyone has a critical role at ESP. All team members are aware of what they were hired for and we are here to help them do their job and do it well. By communicating this philosophy, we find we can avoid any distractions, which in turn, can lead to potential ‘drama.’ It takes every employee to make the whole company function successfully and we keep people focused so they can be proud of their contribution.
“When a challenge does arise, we confront the situation head-on, engage in a ‘fierce conversation,’ (without emotion) and get everyone involved back on track. The quicker a situation is addressed, the sooner it will disappear.”
OWNER OF URBAN BETTY SALON, AUSTIN, TEXAS
“I FIND THE BEST WAY to keep harmony in the salon is by having a one-on-one with each staff member every other week. These are primarily goal-setting meetings, but during these times, we also discuss any issues regarding salon operations, staff members or clients.
“I also work behind the chair at Urban Betty, so I am attuned to what is going on in the salon, but by having personal, exclusive time with each member of the team, I give them the opportunity to say what they need to, thereby letting me know what I need to know: all in a confidential setting.
“For example, I sensed a tense situation between two stylists and quietly took them aside. This gave them the opportunity to work out their differences with me as the mediator and the issue didn’t move to the salon floor where it could affect business or other relationships. Don’t let a situation simmer. As an owner, you must be aware of potential problems and confront them before they get out of hand.”