A Leader’s Guide to Conquering Conflict

Are you a salon leader who gets anxious working in or around conflict? If so, is the thought of resolving that conflict unsettling enough that you put it off as long as possible? If you don't like conflict, it makes sense to engage in the resolution of it. But if engaging in the resolution of the conflict is so unsettling that you disengage, the conflict will continue. It's a classic chicken-and-egg scenario.

In contrast, there are the mighty leaders who bravely enter the conflict like invincible knights in shining armor. They slay the culprits' hidden agendas and bludgeon the issues until the conflicting parties surrender. But is the conflict resolved or just hiding, waiting to conflict another day?

Conflict is a Natural Occurrence

Want to avoid conflict entirely? Live in a protective bubble! Simply put, conflict is part of life. It's going to occur in your life, in the workplace and in the world around you.

Change brings conflict. Companies, systems, cultures and behaviors must change in order to grow.

By the same token, it's impossible to lead without encountering adversity or setbacks. If you think about it, business is much like war: full of conflict. You fight competitors for control of territories or markets. You plot strategies. You even have special teams and "general" managers. You lead your company through adversity to victory. That's leadership. That's business.

The Tough Stuff Defines You

To be a leader is to accept responsibility for growing and protecting the company, its people and its customers-to create a sustainable and enduring enterprise. You cannot lead without being accountable to the tough stuff. That means dealing with conflict.

You will cut costs and take away jobs. You'll meet with your biggest customer to apologize for a mistake. You will discipline, or even fire, a subordinate whom you consider a friend. You enter the fray of conflict between clashing personalities, differing opinions and the dreaded change-resisters. How well you do the tough stuff will define your effectiveness and success as a leader. No compromise. 


Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the salon and spa industry. During his 38 years as a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and author, Neil has gained respect as the guru of team-based compensation. Neil is the author of Fast Forward, the definitive business resource book for salons and spas. For more information, go to www.strategies.com. You can e-mail Neil at neil@strategies.com.

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