Handle business conflicts before it is too late. Many founders, co-founders, and business partners know what it’s like to bump heads with one another. New endeavors often bring people together who care strongly about their work. These people can get deeply involved with their work and ideas, which can be great for creating new ventures and solutions.
It is important as a leader to realize that you will not always agree with your colleagues and partners. There will be some sort of conflict at some point in your business relationship, so we’ve gathered tips to embrace conflict and cultivate a stronger partnership in the process.
Conflict Is Bound To Arise
As conflict arises, it is important to remember that everyone thinks differently, and having a one-track mind isn’t the key to solving conflicts. Many co-founders have found that facing conflict has led to positive outcomes. It’s crucial to understand how to handle disputes. Here are some tactics that business and startup partners use to manage conflicts:
- Put Your Plan on Paper – If you understand that conflicts are bound to happen, then you should plan for them ahead of time. Start by preparing an agreement in writing that details your roles, work-load, liabilities, and profits. This is also where you will include your plan to resolve conflicts.
- Handle Conflicts When They Happen – Most people want to avoid conflict as much as they can. By avoiding conflict you are doing a disservice to your partners and your business — your conflict can disrupt operations if it is not addressed. It is always best to handle the problem before it is too late or gets out of hand.
- Put Yourself in Their Shoes – As one of the leaders of your business, your voice is vital to the operation. However, it is important to remember that your colleagues also have a vision and valid ideas. Remember to hear them out as they may have some ideas that boost your creativity. Diversifying your business ideas also helps to keep things fluid and current.
- Solve the Problem – Now, if you are dealing with your first conflict, there’s a good chance it won’t be pretty. If you have a disagreement, force a solution before you leave. Letting a conflict sit and boil is sure to make things worse, so it is best that you find a way to compromise before jeopardizing your work.
Tips To Create Beneficial Boundaries
Conflicts have caused problems and misunderstandings that have destroyed partnerships for ages.
In fact, 43% of entrepreneurs separated due to internal disagreements. These disagreements typically relate to founders not defining their roles.
For this reason, it is important to set boundaries so that everyone knows which facets of the business they oversee. Here are some tips to help you set boundaries for you and your co-founders.
- Make a list of all of the areas needed for your business. Then figure out who is best at each part, and assign one person to it.
- Don’t let disagreements fester, face them head-on.
- When a big decision arises, everyone should agree to hear each other out.
- Agree to move on once a solution has been reached.
- This is a bit retroactive, but you should try to find partners that don’t hold opposite values of you. Different ideas are great but if your core fundamentals don’t match up, you may continually run into issues.
How To Handle Business Conflicts and Internal Conflicts
Internal conflicts can be difficult to handle. It’s important to create an environment where these disagreements aren’t seen as personal, keep it professional and fair. Experiencing conflicts is no easy thing, but if you embrace that your co-founders and partners want to succeed just as you do, then you can learn to accept their conflict as growth.
However, being able to embrace conflict doesn’t mean that you have to give in easily. It means that you can understand why someone might disagree with you and you consider their point of view. If you know that something is right for your business don’t be afraid to speak up and defend your ideas.
When you do engage in an argument, make sure that you do so collaboratively and with data-driven facts. Allow your partner to express their points and evaluate them fairly and accurately. If you feel you are having a hard time agreeing on many decisions, then you might want to think about finding a professional to intervene. You could try a:
- Business or leadership coach
- T-group (professional group training)
What If You Can’t Come To A Solution?
After trying all of these steps, if you feel that you can’t come to a solution with your business partners, then it could be time to step away. There comes a point when the relationships within a business are too toxic and begin to affect the results. At this point, it is best to take the knowledge you have learned and apply it somewhere else. You now know how to start and run a business, and what is especially important is that you know everything that did not work for you.
When it comes down to it, co-founders and startups succeed because they learn how to deal with conflict. Some business partners have learned how to effectively turn opposing viewpoints into an effective strategy. Of course, this is great in theory, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Conflicts can tear people apart quickly, so it is best that you either learn to solve them or head in different directions before they get the best of you. See additional tips in the visual below (The infographic “How to handle business conflicts between co-founders” is courtesy of Embroker):