Un-Civil Wars in Your Company

Your day starts off well enough, then suddenly there’s a major argument—worse, a knock-down, drag-out fight between two of your staff in production or right in the front office.

But, of course, this never happens at your company! Really? Well, it has happened in mine—and I hear about it happening in other companies, whenever an owner or manager gets perfectly honest. In fact, in my 25+ years of being a business owner, I found myself right in the middle of such confrontations a time or two, sad to say.

Why does this happen? Maybe it’s a personality conflict, or someone taking a bad day out on others. I can be something really important, like someone’s pet dog getting called a stupid, blankety-blank mutt! It’s amazing how these “silly” arguments can happen among us adults!

As a company owner or manager, it falls upon us to separate the warriors, sit them down for a meeting of the minds, and tell them how unacceptable their actions are, especially when they act out in front of the rest of the company. If it gets really bad—short of firing someone—we can fill out a disciplinary document, have each of them sign it, and hopefully get back to work.

But has the REAL issue been resolved, so it doesn’t flare up again?

Let’s look deeper at most arguments or fights that happen in companies. I have instructed our supervisors that, if they see two people arguing, the first thing they are to do is bring calm to the situation. The next thing I expect supervisors to do is ask themselves, why these workers were really arguing, and find the root cause.

I believe most arguments among fellow workers are due to one of only TWO things:

1) Either an individual has some personal, non-work-related difficulty that he or she has brought to work, or

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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