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Chefify - Five tips to diffuse tension in your kitchen

Monday, April 23, 2018

  1. Meet conflicts head on
    If there is a conflict in your kitchen – or between the kitchen and front of house - ignoring it will just allow it to simmer on until one party explodes. Diffuse the tension before it gets to that point by addressing the issue out in the open.
  2. Look for common ground and understanding
    None of us are immune to getting involved in arguments and conflict. However, we all know that a red mist can disperse as quickly as it descends when you suddenly see the other person’s point of view. Try to get those involved in the dispute to understand each other. Is there anything they agree on, however small? Are they at loggerheads because of a simple misunderstanding? Give people space to resolve their differences - do not try and force them into an agreement in front of the whole kitchen.
  3. Encourage people to get to know each other
    There are natural separations and hierarchies that exist, from kitchen vs. front of house, to senior staff vs. junior. It’s important to give staff the chance to get to know each other as people, as friends tend to be more forgiving. Investment in team building can help to create friendships that overcome these kinds of tensions.
  4. Highlight the need for compromise
    Compromise is essential to a team working environment and is often the key to finding a solution to tension between team members. Encourage them to find a solution in which both give a little and both win a little. Praise and reward those who are willing to back down or suggest a way forward rather than stubbornly standing their ground.
  5. Separate antagonists
    If tensions boil over into a full on fight – whether that’s physical or verbal – then you must immediatelty separate the people involved. This is important, not just to stop anyone getting hurt, but also to take the issue away from the others in the kitchen/restaurant and allow them to get on with their work. When problems reach the level where they are abusively expressed boundaries need to be introduced. It may be necessary to discipline someone who has gone way out of line to ensure that it doesn’t set an example that it’s acceptable behaviour in your establishment.