How to Handle Conflict In Your Writer Community
The most overlooked issues in the writing services industry are the morale and relationships amongst writers and editors in a community. Relationships are essential within a community of writers because it will ultimately drive the character behind your company and your aptitude to push through all challenges. With these strategies, you’ll find that maintaining a strong writing team will be simple and most importantly, beneficial to your process.
Establish a Sense of Team
Right off the bat you will face challenges within your writing community, especially if you operate remotely and virtually. It’s tough to feel linked to something that is not necessarily tangible. One of the ways to overcome this challenge is by using terms like “us”, “team”, “group”, “we/our”, etc. in your communication with your writers and editors. Always communicate in first-person. This will allow writers and editors to realize that while they’re all contracted individually, it’s important to work together to complete all projects—as a team. Most of the tension you’ll encounter will be between your writers and editors. This is, of course, because writers don’t like to be criticized and editors don’t like to do all the criticizing. Strengthen these relationships within your community by establishing a sense of trust amid writers and editors. Treat them as a duo and remind them that your process is dependent on their jointefforts to execute clean, original, and high-quality content. Encourage consistent communication between both parties and instill a system of checks and balances. Your writers and editors must embrace and respect one another’s roles in order to function successfully.
Find Opportunities to Come Together
More than likely your team will be spread out across the country, or even the globe. One of the advantages we have living in such a virtually-dependent world is that the Internet offers us venues to unite and communicate as if we are sitting face to face.
Create Secret Social Groups
By utilizing tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn groups, you’ll find that active communication within your community will enhance your communities’ sense of team and make your life much easier during major projects. This also gives your community a private space to raise, discuss, and solve issues on their own without your needing to step in.
Make Use of Video Chats and Instant Messengers
One of my favorite tools for communication is Skype. Skype allows me to communicate with my writing community personally and host live discussions. This really comes in handy in circumstances when you need to diffuse a situation quickly and find a solution. Live communication helps your community to feel more connected to you because they can relate to you on a personal level, and not just overtime and sent messages.
Use Holidays and Events to Host Meet Ups
This isn’t always the most attainable option but proves to be a great rejuvenator for your community. Since your team is likely spread far and wide, pinpoint central locations to set up events where your team members have the occasion to physically meet and get to know each other. This can be a holiday event or a simple summer barbeque that will inspire team participation and interests. For instance, if your team mostly resides in the upper east coast of the United States, then a great meet up area may be New York City.
A Little Competition Goes a Long Way
Competition is a great technique to motivate team members to work together and push beyond their limits. Instill monthly rewards that your community will be encouraged to push towards. You can accomplish this through:
- Point Systems
- Rewards Systems
- Gift Cards
- Inexpensive Gifts
- Participation Rewards
By giving your team perks and incentives to work toward, it will not only encourage them to work better with their team, but it will encourage them to excel individually as well, and to always do better than the last time. The benefits of this will show through in your product and services.
Be Transparent and Fair
Being open with your writing community will not only provoke trust in you as a leader, but also in your company as an employee. This industry has its ups and its downs—how you come out of these situations all depends on how you manage the community. Be clear about what’s coming up, what to expect, and what has been lost. By being honest and open with your community, they’ll feel like part of your company and not like just an accessory; open and honest communication will educate your team members on your business, and will help stabilize their loyalty to you and your business. Spread work out evenly within your community. This can be difficult to do, but it’s a significant part of sustaining the morale within your community. The last thing you want is to create a false pretense that you must be of a certain group or favor, in order to attain work and assignments.
Your writing community is the backbone of your business—without whom your business could not stand tall. It is equally imperative to set tactics in place to keep your team performing at their best, and upholding the quality and dedication of your products and services.