Do your new managers and supervisors have strong communication skills? Are they well-equipped to deal with conflict in a way that leaves employees feeling supported instead of disrespected?

If not, you’re missing an important opportunity to boost employee morale and engagement to help your business thrive.

Last month I shared the 3 big legal issues new managers and supervisors tend to get stuck in. This month, I’m sharing the 2 other common pitfalls in soft skills that new managers and supervisors fall prey to.

1. They lack effective communication skills. Supervisors should be trained to think about the result they want to get any time they communicate. When I work with new supervisors, I train them in the ABCs of communication.

A-Aim. What is it that you want the other person to get from this communication? What is the purpose?

B- Bias. Bias isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If I’m training you in safety procedures, I’m going to be highly biased! I’m going to make it clear that the safety equipment is not optional and I’m going to be very thorough. So, bias can be good in that sense.

C- Climate. What does the relationship with that employee look like after the communication is done?

For example John, your employee, made a mistake and you needed to talk with him about it. Your aim would be to educate John on what he did and get him to make the right choice next time. The bias here is that you would explain the impact John’s error had on the customer so he could see the bigger picture.

How you conduct the first two parts of the conversation determines the climate. Does John respect you for having a respectful, insightful conversation with him? Or did you beat him over the head and he thinks it was unnecessary of you to treat him that way?

Most new supervisors don’t have any training in communication and how to interact with people. Yesterday, they were working side by side on the line with their now-employees! But not having those communication skills often leads to problem areas where supervisors say dumb things and end up causing lawsuits.

2. They don’t understand how to deal with conflict. There are many ways to handle conflict. Unfortunately, the most prevalent way among new supervisors is to avoid it.

They say, “It’ll just figure itself out and go away.”

Wishful thinking! It usually gets worse.

When I talk to new supervisors about why they’re uncomfortable handling conflict, it’s simply because they’ve never been given the skills to get to the root of a problem and resolve the issue.

We all know that conflict will happen. Training can help supervisors see conflict as an opportunity. Anytime there’s a disagreement, you can be a bull in a china shop and force the other person to see things your way.

Or perhaps, both ideas have merit. Maybe it doesn’t have to be a “my-way-or-the-highway” scenario.

When I work with clients on conflict resolution, I like to use a win-win philosophy.

How do you and I both get something out of this?

How can we both walk away as winners?

If you want seafood but I want steak, how can we resolve that in a way that allows us both to get something we want?

How do we identify the merits of both of our needs and wants?

In conflict resolution, some level of compromise is always involved.

This all goes back to training. If supervisors aren’t trained in conflict resolution, it can create huge legal issues. If an employee comes to a manager with a problem and the manager avoids it, the employee’s next call will be to an attorney.

What do you expect them to do? After all, you haven’t handled the problem.

I tend to think of these 2 areas as hotspots for new supervisors.

Where I really see them as challenges is in organizations with no formal HR function. Issues are often completely avoided and if they do handle an issue it’s often handled poorly. There are huge employee morale implications for handling these things badly.

But when managers have effective communication and conflict resolution skills, you close yourself off to lawsuits and boost employee morale.

If you don’t have an HR function, it may be time to get one. TurboExecs can help train supervisors proactively so they can handle things themselves. We also facilitate discussions to bring resolution to conflicts before they get too out of hand.

Contact me here to find out how TurboExecs can help your business thrive with expert HR consulting.

Successfully yours,
Ed

P.S. Do your new managers and supervisors have strong communication skills? Are they well-equipped to deal with conflict in a way that leaves employees feeling supported instead of disrespected? If not, your business isn’t operating at the level it could be. Contact me here to find out how TurboExecs can help your business thrive with expert HR consulting.