Monthly Archives: May 2017

Dealing with Conflicts of Interest in the Workplace

I recently read with horror about employees at a North Carolina restaurant serenading a group of police officers with a foul-mouthed rap song degrading these customers. http://nypost.com/2017/05/01/restaurant-employees-sing-f-tha-police-rendition-for-cops/

I’m sure most of my readers who saw that story shook their heads and thought, “Who thinks that is considered acceptable behavior?”

Many executives I work with are realizing the younger the workforce, the less social interaction skills exist. Social interaction judgment is lost when you are used to communicating with an electronic interface. Trolling has become a pastime for some individuals on social media, and those individuals forget personal interactions are different. We are in an age where the awareness of acceptable face to face communication in the workplace is lost and will create conflict.

Conflict of Interest

How much will this location suffer because of the actions of these few employees? Once this became a national news story, the owner of the restaurant is thrown into a public relations nightmare not even of his making. Most small businesses are not equipped for this type of negative attention. What is going on here?

In a widely diverse workforce, a multitude of interests will exist. Business interests, personal interests, and customer interests will intersect. Today, people feel empowered to express their personal opinions, regardless of where they are. Protests for many different agendas are now as common as thunderstorms in the summertime.

What is your policy on conflicts of interest?

Each business should establish their expectations of customer interactions and employee interactions. Clearly inform your employees on your expectations of how you expect employees to conduct business. In the polarized climate we currently live in, we need to teach our employees, while on the clock, setting aside personal agendas is critical while serving an employer and customers. In fact, employees should be made aware that countless people have lost their jobs even when not on the clock for social media transgressions. Business are being forced to take a stand on employees’ expressed attitudes.

Make sure you have stated policies on how you expect employees to deal with irate customers, on dealing with customers you may not see eye to eye with, and with fellow employees with whom who you have a difference of opinion. Professionalism should be defined and become the minimum expectation of all employees of any organization.

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Small Business Charisma

Do you think your small business is successful because of your quality products? You might be missing the most important part of success for your small business: the charisma.

Charlotte had an amazing restaurant many years ago called Dikadee’s Front Porch, where people would line up into the parking lot to enjoy dinner. It was considered worth the wait. The menu was a basic chalkboard just inside of the entrance, and the owner, Nick Collias, would describe each dish to each set of guests about to be seated. His descriptions were as amazing as the food, (trout piccata, tournedos marchand de vin, steak au poivre, and saganaki, to name a few of the signature dishes) and those descriptions were just as important as the food.

Years later the restaurant was sold to a new owner. The menu remained the same, the chefs stayed, but the charisma vanished. Within a couple of years, the restaurant closed.

What happened?

The most effective small business leader has the talent to draw people in, and that is largely the foundation of the business’s success.

Here are three ways to build your small business charisma.

Make people feel special

When you have frequent customers, remember them. They want to be noticed, called by name, and served as a “regular.” Loyalty from customers happens when those customers feel special when visiting an establishment.

The same can be said for employees. When an employee makes the extra effort, demonstrates loyalty or steps up in the midst of a challenging situation, recognize them immediately. Not necessarily demonstratively, but sincerely. In both of these cases, when you engage with people and show interest, they will respond positively.

Display your personality

People gravitate toward confidence, upbeat attitudes and warmth. But most importantly, be authentic. People can detect fake attitudes quickly and they will create a distance from you if they feel you are being disingenuous. Be yourself, even in professional settings. Be the friend they want to do business with.

Deliver positive impact

Ask this of yourself; right after people deal with you: How do they feel? Are they glad to have encountered you or are they wishing they had never met you? As we walk through life bumping into others, are you focusing on leaving a positive impression? As a small business owner, whether you are dealing with a complaint from a loyal customer or having a simple daily interaction with a stranger, you want people to feel better after having spent time with you. When you make people feel good, they will continue to return time and time again.

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