Avoiding Conflict

Conflict in the workplace, or at home, or anywhere is both ugly and destructive. Unfortunately conflict is inevitable when people are under pressure and from time to time, other people’s opinions differ from their own. In a business, conflict can totally destroy the ambience and relaxation that clients come to hair and beauty salons and spas for in the first place. Conflict arises whenever individuals have different values, opinions, needs, interests and are unable to find a middle way.

Conflict resolution is often called conflict management however, I believe conflicts need to be resolved, not just managed. And with the right leadership approach, 90% of conflicts could be avoided in the first place.

How to deal with conflict. Well, I suppose the best way to win an argument is to not have one in the first place. Easier said than done? Here are a few things you can do to actually minimise the causes of conflict.

Create a strong Salon or Spa Culture. These are the salon’s rules, regulations, values, philosophies, mission statement, policies and procedures. These are the things that make your business great. Great for whom? Everybody, every stakeholder that has an interest in the success of your business – your clients, your staff, owners, product suppliers, even SARS.


During disagreements in the salon or spa, protecting these values becomes the main priority and staff need to understand exactly how important the salon or spa culture is. Once a business is opened it has a right to be successful. Exactly the same rights that staff are entitled to – the right to be happy, the right to their own opinion and the right to be successful. However, nobody has the right to deny others of their right to be happy and successful.

Before entering the salon or spa, staff need to leave all their personal “issues” on an imaginary hook outside the salon or spa and enter the salon everyday with the primary thought “what more can I do to make the business more successful?” This shows the salon or spa has a strong salon or spa culture. If staff continue to have a difference of opinion just send them to a coffee shop until they can agree on something. Teach the John Maxwell’s 101% theory in building relationships i.e. find just one thing to like about the other person and put 100% of your effort behind that one thing.

Regular staff meetings to discuss the state of the business is not only a good idea, it is essential to keep everybody on the same page by sharing the successes of the salon or spa as well as areas for improvement. Staff meetings should not just be about housekeeping – controlling costs, punctuality etc, they should also be brainstorming sessions where everybody has to contribute. Neither should they be bitching sessions where individuals are picked on for wrong-doing. The golden rule for respect-based leadership is “complement in public but criticise in private.”

Another technique for avoiding conflict is by having a ‘Beefs and Bouquets’ component to your staff meeting. Allow each staff member to voice one complaint about something they are not happy with about something or someone in the salon… However, they must also voice something they like about that same person or thing.

Positive feedback from clients always boosts morale during a meeting. Encourage clients to comment on their salon experience in a ‘Compliments & Complaints’ book and get each staff member to take turns reading the comments to the rest of the staff.

The most successful way to pre-empt conflict in the salon or spa is by having regular one-on-one sessions with every staff member. This is a fool-proof strategy for dealing with under-performance, unsatisfactory behaviour and disciplinary issues.

Conflict often comes from misunderstanding. For example, a staff member might think they are not being given a fair share of walk-in business or that they are not being paid fairly. This is where KPI reports from My Salon Software provide the facts of the matter. KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators show a complete picture of your business – by staff member, by department, by day and by date (monthly, quarterly, annually).

These are just a few ideas that will assist in 90% of avoidable conflict.

Please feel free to contact us about this or any other challenges you may be experiencing in your business.

This blog is one of a series of business insights which can be accessed on www.mysalonsoftware.co.za. If you have any questions or specific requests please email info@mysalonsoftware.co.za.