What entrepreneurs need to know about conflict management in the workplace

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One of the inevitable things about growing a successful business and a staff complement is the likelihood of conflict arising in the workplace.

Regardless of whether your personality is conflict-avoidant or confrontational, as an entrepreneur and a leader within your small business, you have no choice but to deal with conflict head-on so that it doesn’t have negative effects on your company.

Below are a few of our top tips for managing conflict in the workplace.

Embrace a diversity of opinions

Firstly, let’s acknowledge that conflict is not always a bad thing. As your business grows, so does your team, which means there are a lot more voices to consider than just your own or your co-founders’. You should welcome a difference of opinions, and hone in on what those diverse opinions can bring to the business.

In cases like these, it’s the very conflicts that give rise to innovations and novel solutions that hadn’t been considered before.

Be impartial

When it comes to mediating a conflict between two staff members, it’s important to allow both parties to explain their respective sides. Once you’ve done that, what’s further still important, is to make sure you form an unbiased, neutral conclusion.

We get it, this will prove a lot easier than done, but picking a side will cause more harm than the initial conflict in the long run.

Consider the facts

Together with being impartial, you also have a responsibility to plainly consider the facts. How do these relate to the conflict at hand?

Sometimes, it may encourage one party to compromise or soften their approach, other times it may steer people on a completely different path.

The thing about facts is that they are just as they are — unchangeable. So it’s a good, humbling exercise to for all parties to consider the facts against their own passionate opinions.

Move forward with solutions

Don’t delay in resolving the conflict. If possible, it’s a good idea to reprioritise everything else going on to ensure your and your team work through the conflict at hand.

Set aside the time and give yourself a deadline for when you want resolution and a way forward. If you don’t have a line in the sand, you may just allow something like this to fall by the wayside unresolved, which, as we’ve already mentioned, is never a good idea.

Use it as a learning

As an entrepreneur, you already know that there is always something to be learned from stumbings, successes and failures. The important thing it to make sure you see those situations as such.

You’re in a constant state of learning, unlearning and even relearning, so when you’re faced with conflict in thr workplace, use it as a means to establish what you can do better going forward.

If you’re lucky, you can even use the source of the conflict as a way to completely reassess a product or process within the business.

Keep an eye on our blog for regular advice on how best to weather the entrepreneurial journey. We’re in this with you.

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