When To Swallow Your Tongue as an Employer
When you became a small business owner, you probably thought that you’d get to call all the shots. This is true in many ways; you’re the one who determines policy, you’re the one who decides who to hire, and you are the one that gets to assign those late shifts that you don’t want to work any more, but the truth is that you still have to play nice. As the boss, you do get to lay down the law, but should you always throw your weight around? Not necessarily. Even as “the boss,” you’ll find that things go a lot more smoothly when you’re able and willing to bite your tongue from time to time.
Politics and Religion
At the end of the day, there are two topics that you should avoid discussing in the workplace: politics and religion. It is not anyone’s business what you believe, and it is not your business what anyone else believes when it comes to these hot-button issues. These conversations have the potential to get heated, and if they get started, they can lead to some seriously unpleasant workplace dynamics. As the boss, if you see an employee disagreement over these issues, it is your prerogative to come over and say “this isn’t really the place for that, is it?” and have your rules respected. Use this as necessary, and don’t step in with what you “know” is right! Be reasonable, but insist on a workplace where your employees (and customers) don’t disrespect each other, even if they may disagree on some things.
When Someone Insults You
When someone insults you, whether it is an employee or a customer, you will immediately feel the urge to respond in kind – and sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying that putting a rude person in their place. However, because you are the boss, any abuse that you offer is going to be taken much more seriously, and reflect directly upon your business. This is where being the boss allows you to make the rules, however. Stay calm, and tell the person what the consequences of their behaviour will be. If it is an employee, send them home, dock their pay or, in a worst case scenario, escort them to their desk or work station to clean it out. If it is a customer, you may choose to offer them a warning before you ask them to leave. If you feel the urge to raise your voice or to verbally berate someone, bite it back and take more mature, calm action instead.
When Someone Insults Your Service
Every product, service and store has its flaws – sometimes, mistakes are made or details are overlooked. Nothing is perfect, and you will discover that there are some customers who are very fond of telling you what is wrong with your service. This can be annoying, but limit yourself to merely correcting them when they are wrong. If your employees make an error, rather than getting defensive when a customer brings it up, simply agree with the customer and tell them you’re working on correcting that error. People who are trying to get a rise out of you in this fashion are looking for some kind of slip-up or discount, so be wary, and stay calm, even if it seems like they are picking on you.
End the Conversation
When things are getting overly heated, end the conversation. This is your main power as the boss, so use it if you need to. If an employee of yours is rude, you always have the option to discipline them, and you can always tell a rude customer to leave if other options won’t suffice. As the employer, you have plenty of power to end disputes – including shutting down a conversation that’s becoming unpleasant.