Employee/manager conflicts

It’s something that’s hard to avoid: employee/manager conflicts. They’re bound to come up when people work together at all, much less when they work in a job like customer service.

(Note: Customer service isn’t always call-center type customer service, which in general, is more “intense” than something like retail customer service. Most people who go to a nice store to shop are happy. Most people who call a call-center have problems. Not always the case, but in general.)

So, how do you deal with employee/manager conflict?

Use the three-legged stool.

Measure manager achievement/success with the three-legged stool theory. Employees should be happy, customers should be happy, and financial/business results should be good. It’s much harder said than done, but if everyone’s happy, then it’s a good thing.

Ask the employees for feedback.
If you’re a manager and don’t get along well with your employees, ask the company management to issue some sort of formal “feedback survey” to your employee. Have the company provide you with a copy of the results so you can work on improvement. Actually consider the feedback and try to make changes.

Do something to increase morale.
Whether it be taking your employees out to lunch, to a sports game, or whatever, do something to help increase morale. As a manager, pick up the tab, encourage conversation, and be friendly.

Set positive examples.
Above all things, as a manager, you should try to set a positive example. Do things that show you’re committed to great customer service, being an excellent manager, or whatever example it is that you have to set. Those “inspirational” management speakers always tell you to lead by example, so try and listen to them.

Ask your peers.
Whether you’re a customer service representative with a “bad manager,” or a manager with “bad employees,” ask your peers about what they’d do in such a situation. Try to ask exemplarily peers who get along well with their employees/managers.

Don’t rule by fear.
Don’t lead, manage, rule, etc. by fear. Look at employees as equals, and have them look at you as a friend/advisor, not so much a manager. Management consultants may disagree with me, but I don’t think having people listen to you because they’re afraid is very effective.

Have an open-door policy.
Same principle as above. You may have to say it directly (“My door is always open, so don’t hesitate to ask me anything.”) quite a few times, but it’ll eventually pay off. On the end of every memo, include a line like “If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do let me know.” Solicit feedback and appreciate it.

Be kind to your employees.
If an employee is having a bad day, don’t make it worse. Try and be nice to all of your employees and listen to their problems and concerns. If people like their job, they’ll be more likely to go and enjoy it.

Read the blog.
Okay, this is a new point of advice I don’t normally give. Read Service Untitled every now and then, and you’ll pick up some tips to have happy employees. I intend to post one of my “exercises lists” sometime soon about how to improve employee morale and keep employees happy.

Remember, your employees are one of your most important assets and their satisfaction is just as important as your customer’s satisfaction (assuming you can’t run the entire organization by yourself).

P.S. New category. This one is called “Employees.”

3 Responses to “Employee/manager conflicts”

  1. CustomersAreAlways said:

    Jun 02, 06 at 11:39 pm

    Tips to Alleviate Employee/Manager Conflicts at Service Untitled…

    Douglas Hanna over at Service Untitled has been kind to fulfill a topic request that I submitted.  Conflicts between a manager and employee is a common occurrence in the workplace – at least when I was a manager it was! ……

  2. Service Untitled » Do happy employees give better service? - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Oct 17, 07 at 6:56 am

    […] Employee/manager conflicts (and how to avoid them) […]

  3. Service Untitled» Blog Archive » Be More Accessible in 3 Simple Steps said:

    May 14, 09 at 10:07 pm

    […] briefly touched on what can be done to avoid employee / manager conflicts just under three years ago (wow!), but I was […]