Conflict Management

Written on the 5 February 2013 by Macmillans Waller Fry

Conflicts are stressful, however realise that they offer a significant chance to grow and improve both as an individual and a business owner.

Conflict within a business can be with a customer, employee, supplier, or partner. Disagreements, no matter how large or small, are disrupting. The more the issue escalates, the more damaging it may become. Although it can be difficult, do not let the issue become personal. A common mistake when managing a dispute is allowing it to become a personal attack on the other party.

As soon as this happens discussions invariably break down. In many cases the initial issue takes second place to a battle of egos.

The reason for Conflicts.

The reason the conflict came about in the first place may be due to one or more parties not listening to each other. Do not make this mistake during the dispute. Once either side has had the opportunity to explain their position, without interruption, often the resolution is clear.

In many cases, the other party simply wants to be heard and have their opinion validated. Here are a few points to remember during a business related conflict:

  • Every business relies on others. These may be employees, suppliers or customers. A dispute can affect how other parties see you. Sometimes a tough win can upset important business relationships.
  • Financial disputes often lead to a solution being found through the courts. Even if you win a court battle, it will leave you out of pocket for lost time and productivity. Avoid going to court if possible.
  • Even though the other party is upsetting you, try and listen to what they say - they may not be entirely wrong. Do not allow small issues to build up or be ignored.
  • Focus on the issue, not on the other person. Do not lose sight of why the conflict arose in the first place.

Even a small conflict can result in stress and an ill feeling in the workplace. Larger conflicts can lead to lost money, lost business and lost friends.

Try to avoid conflicts in the first place and remember to keep a level head when managing conflict. It is easy to get drawn into personal insults, but this will not help you find a resolution.

Author: Macmillans Waller Fry


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