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How to handle conflict with your business partner

Despite taking time to choose a reliable partner and having a clear, binding contract, you and your business partner may find yourselves conflicting from time to time. It’s not uncommon for business partners to disagree.

Disagreeing with your business partner does not mean you or they are wrong. Before dismissing their opinion, take time to actively listen. Let them explain how their idea can benefit the company (or what have you), and you can state your concerns. Doing this can potentially help you find common ground. At minimum, it should give you some clarity, instead of inspiring you to make uninformed decisions after rushing to judgment.

Be respectful

When communicating with your business partner, it’s vital to be respectful even when you believe their idea or circumstances may not be wise. Use thoughtful words and avoid interrupting them. If a discussion is heated, you can take a breather to avoid words or actions you may regret later.

Release tension

Conflicts between business partners can be stressful. But you can release the tension by making your discussions less intense. For example, instead of holding the conversation in the conference room, do so over lunch or when playing golf.

Follow your conflict resolution process

It can be more manageable to follow the conflict resolution approaches outlined in your business partnership contract. For example, if you and your business can’t find common ground, you can follow mediation procedures, if your agreement provides for them. A mediator can help you view each other’s opinions differently and help you work towards a satisfactory outcome.

If you and your business partner are experiencing conflict, consider learning more about ways that you can potentially resolve the issue, in order to determine the best way forward.