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3 conflict resolution strategies for small businesses

Conflict is inevitable wherever there are people who interact with each other. This is because people may have different perspectives on a situation due to their life experiences, culture, values, and beliefs. When there is conflict, people believe they are under threat and this causes them to feel a flight or fight response. Many people try to avoid conflict or compete in a conflict situation, but there is a better way to deal with conflict which will help build trust and strengthen bonds in your business.

Let’s look at three strategies to help resolve conflict for the benefit of your business as a whole.

1. Recognise your emotions

The first strategy when faced with a conflict situation is to acknowledge the strong emotions you are feeling. If you feel that you are becoming uncontrollable angry and frustrated it is better to step away and go for walk before proceeding with the situation. When you have regulated your emotions, then you need to discuss the conflict with those involved.

2. Acknowledge the conflict

If we leave a conflict situation it will only fester and become worse therefore it is important to deal with the situation as soon as possible. Normally when someone displays strong feelings about a situation it is because there is a deep personal need that has been threatened. This could be the need for safety or respect or love. So by acknowledging the conflict we are moving closer to resolving it and we are able to help those involved to identify the need that has been threatened.

3. Deal with the conflict

When we deal with conflict we need to remain objective and it is important to focus on the issue and not attack a person’s character when dealing with the conflict. Next, we need to show empathy. This doesn’t mean we agree with the situation but we view the issue from the other person’s point of view. Remember to always remain focused on the facts and try to understand what part of the person is feeling threatened. You should also practice active listening and where possible try to rephrase what the complaint is to show you have listened and that you are clear on the issue of the conflict. Finally, determine whether the conflict is a people problem or a process problem. Sometimes conflicts can arise from a process which is putting too much strain on one of the parties. Or it could be a clash of personalities. If it is a clash of personalities, you should be able to work it out because when you hired your employees you would have ensured they are aligned with the company’s values. Next, it is always important to emphasise the importance of the person to your business and why you value their presence in your business.

By dealing with conflict swiftly and objectively, you will be able to build trust and a bond with your business partners to build a thriving business.

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