5 Tips for Handling Conflicts with Business Partners

Conflicts are a natural part of any business partnership, like personal relationships. When collaborating closely with someone else or a group, it’s common to become emotional and overlook the broader goals. This tendency is amplified when significant financial interests are at risk.

Experiencing conflict with your partner doesn’t mean your business must suffer. There are actionable strategies you can employ to address and resolve conflicts without jeopardizing your partnership or the well-being of your business. Consider these five strategies for managing conflict effectively:



Avoid Taking Things Too Personally

Business decisions often carry a deep personal significance, particularly when you’ve invested everything into the venture. Encountering disagreement from your partner over a matter you’re passionate about can instinctively prompt a defensive response. However, understanding and considering your partner’s perspective could be crucial in resolving the issue more efficiently.

Consider the following: Before reaching this juncture in your business, you and your partner have concurred on numerous aspects. This mutual vision for your business has been the driving force behind its success thus far. Respecting your partner means respecting their opinions, even if you might not initially see eye to eye.

Don’t Judge Quickly

Operating a small business means that each decision carries weight and feels intensely personal. When you have business disputes with your partner on a crucial topic, the instinct to close off and engage in conflict can be strong. Nonetheless, taking the time to cool off, thoroughly examine the situation, and empathize with your partner’s standpoint is key to resolving disagreements swiftly.

Remember that the foundation of your partnership was built on a shared vision and the distinct abilities each of you contributes. Recognizing and respecting your partner’s insights on various issues, despite differences in opinion, is essential.

Engage an Independent Third-party Mediator

Bringing in another friend or a parent isn’t necessary. Often, the ideal solution is consulting with an impartial third party. Utilizing a mediator can expedite and simplify the dispute resolution process, ensuring feelings of fairness are maintained.

While conflicts are inevitable, the primary aim should always be peaceful resolution. This ensures that you and your partner can focus on nurturing and expanding your business harmoniously.

Set Specific Roles and Responsibilities for Each Partner

A frequent problem in partnerships occurs when one partner perceives themselves as handling a disproportionate amount of work or investing more into the business than the other. These concerns should be formally addressed and recorded in the partnership agreement, ideally established at the partnership’s outset. Defining the distinct duties and responsibilities of each partner in the agreement can help to prevent such issues from arising in the first place.

Conduct an ‘Active Listening’ Session

This approach to resolving disputes involves both parties agreeing to listen attentively to the other’s viewpoint and opinions for a predetermined period, often just a few minutes. During this time, the listener must remain silent and not react. This technique effectively reduces anger and gives both parties a deeper understanding of the other’s perspective.

In the context of a business partnership, the emotional aftermath of resolving a dispute holds more significance than determining a winner. Should one party feel undervalued and bitter, such feelings can gradually deteriorate the partnership and the business itself.

Endnote

Conflicts are inevitable in all partnerships, yet they need not spell doom. By implementing these strategies, you can resolve any disputes with your business partners and keep your business prosperous in a setting where everyone’s voice is valued.

Featured image by TienDat Nguyen on Unsplash

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