At some point in our day-to-day lives at work, we all deal with conflict. Conflict, unfortunately, is a natural part of any business or life, whether it’s dealing with internal customers (your salon or spa team) or external customers (your salon or spa guests.)
Conflict is brought on by our different beliefs, diverse backgrounds, life experiences, and personal values. How we handle these sticky situations can either ignite into a wildfire and create a great deal of drama, stress, and discomfort or we can calmly put the fire out with a positive effective approach.
I have a few helpful pointers to help you resolve conflict and get back on track:
Handle conflicts in a timely manner- The problem will not go away; ignoring the problem will not solve it. So, nip it in the bud ASAP. As time marches on, the challenge can ultimately get worse. The sooner you confront the conflict, the sooner you'll find a solution.
Invite the other person to talk about the situation first– “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” in other words, let the other person go first. Communication is such a critical part of conflict resolution. Hearing a customer or co-worker's concern could a) help both of you identify the root cause of the issue and b) create the foundation for a solution. People like to feel heard. Even if you think you're "right," respecting someone's voice and experience could be the small olive branch that brings peace between the two of you.
Apologize- Apologize for your part in the conflict. Remember, usually everyone involved has some part in the challenge. By apologizing you’re not accepting the entire blame; however, you are taking responsibility for your contribution. Use "I" statements when you apologize, like, "I am sorry for..." or "I did not realize that..."
Develop a plan of action- Remember, no one wins! Discuss what would be a positive outcome. Develop several choices that would meet the overall objective. If it's an issue with a client who doesn't like his or her experience, this might look like a complimentary deep conditioning treatment or a credit towards their next service. If it's a co-worker who keeps taking time off unexpectedly, maybe it's an agreement to put in day-off requests two weeks in advance. Remember, we all like choices.
Whether the conflict is with a team member or a salon or spa guest, the result is to get everyone back on track with little discomfort. Even though it's difficult to approach conflict head-on, it ultimately prevents added stress for both us and our co-workers or guests. No one enjoys feeling like they've made someone else unhappy. If we all do our part to tackle conflict as a team, we'll all be happier.
Photo: Shutterstock | golubovstock
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Patti Wanamaker brings 21 years of experience to the Milady team where she currently serves as an Implementation and Training Specialist. Her intimate understanding of the salon, school, and beauty industry comes from 18 years of hands-on experience as a multi-faceted training specialist, including 8 years of salon and spa ownership of 3 salons with annual sales of $5 million. Her experience in all 3 areas of our industry allows her to think outside the box and develop innovative training that inspires and empowers beauty industry professionals.
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