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How to navigate conflict in your small business

by Apr 14, 2022Small Business Leaders

You cannot build a successful business without engaging and learning to navigate conflict. People who avoid conflict at all costs are rarely chosen to be leaders in an organization. When you have ambition, you will always have some form of resistance that you will need to overcome. It may take the form of an unhappy customer, firing an underperforming employee, or challenging a competitor. Success and conflict go together.

How do you deal with conflict in a manner that benefits ourselves and those around us?

Here are four tactics that small business owners can embrace that will help anyone swim the tides of conflict on the pathway to success in their business.

1. You must expect conflict

When people work together, there will be differences of opinion. Deeply held values are going to be in conflict. When someone believes something different than what you think, you question who that person is. Do you want that person a part of your inner circle? How can we disagree in a productive way that leads us to a stronger working relationship?

Check out my Wednesday Morning Memo on “How to have difficult conversations with employees”.

Not everyone sees conflict in the same light. Have you ever been in a restaurant and delivered the wrong meal to your table? How would you respond? Some would accept the meal without a fuse, while others would insist on engaging in conflict and escalating the issue. 

2. Master and control your emotions

When conflict takes control of us or others, we build defenses that help us feel confident that we are right about what we think. When you feel angry or contempt for the person you disagree with, you’ve turned off the reasonable part of your brain and are more apt to morph your feelings into some form of drama. Sometimes people just want to be heard. Feeling like you’ve expressed your opinion releases anxiety and can be the first step to regaining control of your emotions.

3. Affirm others when you navigate conflict

When others are confronted, their identity can feel threatened. Making statements that affirm that you understand the others’ point of view can go a long way in increasing understanding as you confront them. Remember that relationships are more important than conflict and are worth preserving over simple conflicts of opinions. 

Learn to disagree in a respectful way 

navigate conflict
You’ll find my new book, “How to disagree respectfully” A guide to getting along in tumultuous times, a helpful resource. This new eBook contains my video commentary and coaching throughout sections of the book. You’ll find the videos a practical way to implement the ideas.
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4. Understand you could be incorrect

Conflict is not about proving you are right but moving toward a positive direction and an attitude of collaboration. Different sources of information often produce differing opinions. When someone gathers enough information to form an opinion, they can often turn away from other facts that might be contrary to that initial point of view. This phenomenon is often called confirmation bias.

About Henry:
Henry is a Leadership Coach and Mentor. He helps Owners and Executive Leaders develop their teams to grow their business so they can have more time, more results and more money. To learn more, Henry offers a FREE discovery call  check out the details on this website.