There comes a point in our careers where we have to collaborate and work closely with business partners. It can be a very rewarding venture but there may arise conflicts and disagreements. Embarking on this journey can offer substantial rewards, yet it’s not uncommon for conflicts and differences of opinion to emerge. It becomes particularly challenging to maintain focus on the broader objectives, especially in high-stakes situations where financial interests are at play.
Mastering the skill of effectively navigating conflicts with your business partner becomes crucial. A conflict or disagreement should not ruin your business. You can take specific steps to contain disagreements and manage them in a way that satisfies each partner. Here are tips to help you handle conflicts with a business partner.
1. Don’t Judge Quickly
If you own a small business, every decision you make seems large and deeply personal. If you disagree with your partner over an important issue, it can be tempting to shut down and shift into battle mode. However, finding the patience to calm down and analyze every detail and understand your partner’s position will determine how fast you resolve the conflict. Remember, you became business partners because you both shared a common vision for your business and you each brought unique strengths to the table. If you know the value your partner brings, you must value their perspective on different issues even if you don’t agree with it.
2. Plan Ahead and Address Issues Before They Become More Serious
Spotting potential conflicts early on is all about building a solid connection with your business partner. If there are any touchy subjects that might stir up trouble down the road, try addressing them proactively to nip potential issues in the bud. For example, take a situation where your business partner thinks they’re carrying the heavier load of the work. In this case, you can establish clear responsibilities well before any problems arise. It’s crucial for everyone to be on the same page about their roles, leaving no room for uncertainty when it comes to dividing the workload.
3. Use Active Listening
One effective approach to resolve disagreements with your business partner involves both parties mutually deciding to engage in a calm conversation. During this exchange, the agreement is to attentively listen to the other person without interruption or immediate reaction. This method proves valuable in diffusing tensions and fostering a fresh understanding of each other’s perspectives.
As business partners, it is not about who wins but how each partner feels after solving the conflict. If the conflict resolution leaves one partner feeling resentful and marginalized, it can poison the partnership and the business. Practice active listening and other exercises that can ease any tensions between you and make every party feel heard.
4. Seek Outside Help
Sometimes, introducing a neutral third party is all you need to solve a conflict. It is for this reason that mediation exists. Mediators have the training and skills needed to handle all kinds of disputes and speaking with one could result in a faster and cleaner resolution. If you have to compromise, a mediator can ensure that every party leaves satisfied with what you give.
If the conflict is too far gone and the matter needs a more formal solution, then a business lawyer can help. The Coppola Firm can help you handle a commercial litigation if they cannot find a solution and have to move to court. However, it is always advisable to solve any issues before they get this far.
Conflict is a part of any partnership but it does not have to be a catastrophe. You can follow these steps to solve any issues with business partners and ensure that your business continues to thrive in an environment where everyone feels heard.