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Conflict, Chaos, Confusion

Conflict, Chaos, Confusion

By: Ross Paterson

What happens when all of the fear, turmoil, chaos, drama, and political division starts seeping into your SMB (Small/Medium Business) team? What can/should the leaders do to make sure people are heard, feel safe, and simultaneously minimize unproductive drama? We don’t have all the answers, but here are a few ideas that will help. Ignoring these issues will not make them go away.


XM Truth: Teams perform at their best when they feel safe and connected to their work.


Safe physically, but we also have to keep our teams safe emotionally and psychologically. Connected refers to a person’s value and vision alignment with the organization’s ‘Just Cause’ or aspirational purpose.


     1. Create an environment where people are safe


The obligations of business owners and leaders are overwhelming right now. Safe protocols and practices for COVID-19 prevention. Create stability and security for families by providing structure, purpose, and financial potential. Be exceedingly human in every conversation, sacrifice a little efficiency to pour into your people, and let them be heard.


      2. Keep your ‘Just Cause’ big, the bigger the better


Our ‘Just Cause’ at XM Performance is to make SMBs the best places to work in America. Our clients come from dozens of nationalities, religious beliefs, political alignment, and social backgrounds. We stay focused on what we have in common. Growing healthy businesses that make a huge impact on the lives of our employees, customers, and the communities we serve. Finding divisive issues to fight about is easy, finding common ground to move forward together takes real, gritty, determined leadership.


      3. Learn how to manage conflict and master difficult conversations


Balance is key, let people be heard, but carefully and empathetically discourage politically charged conversations that distract from #2. I love to encourage our teammates and clients to get engaged, actively participate in organizations where they have a passion. We can even give them additional time off to participate and make a business donation to their favorite community organizations. These are the benefits of SMB autonomy.