Managing conflicts and culture problems in a startup

One of the things I had no experience with at all when I started Fyndiq was how to lead and manage people. In the last three years I have grown a lot in that area, and learned many lessons.

In the beginning, one thing I found hard was how to deal with people who have a shitty attitude, or who are always creating conflicts. On one hand, I could try to go for the "no bullshit"-tactic, which is to raise my voice and clearly state that this kind of behaviour is not accepted.

But I am however very diplomatic as a person, and it is simply not my style to yell at people or create an even worse vibe in the room. Usually I have solved these situations by calmly speaking to the ones involved – first one on one, then as a group.

What I have come to realise after a couple of years however, is that both methods described above are very bad.

Why? Because they are actions taken on the wrong level.

As a leader you should not have to put up with people who have bad attitude or who repeatedly create drama and conflicts – at all! One or two bad apples in a team will destroy the working environment, culture and productivity of the whole team. That has to be taken care of immediately.

The right solution here is to get rid of the people who disrupt the team. Also you need to learn to see these traits early on so that you don't make any bad hires from the beginning. This is very hard – I usually say that you do not know a team member's full personality until you have worked together for six months.

Starting to see things this way has made all the difference for me.

Micael Widell

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Stockholm

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