5 Key Tips for Dealing With Conflict

If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you’ll face some conflict along the way. It’s all part of the experience of taking a risk and putting yourself out there. Conflict, while sometimes daunting, isn’t entirely a bad thing. Quality business advice is realistic about conflict and provides an opportunity to turn situations to your advantage. Here are several suggestions to consider.

1. Choose Your Battles

It’s essential to distinguish between business necessity and self-righteousness. This doesn’t mean that you should violate your ethical code. It does mean that your personal beef with someone shouldn’t always lead to winning every interaction or negotiation. Determine where your non-negotiable limits are, and protect your company and brand. Let the small issues remain small. Seek out a trusted mentor if you struggle in this area.

2. Monitor Your Tone

In this case, tone includes your vocabulary, vocal intonation, facial expressions, and body language. Present yourself in a way that’s authentically strong and not overly reactive. An easygoing yet professional attitude will go a long way when situations get touchy. The manner of communication is just as important as the content.

3. Know When To Fold

Do everything you can to avoid getting caught in a power struggle. Bowing out assertively (not passive-aggressively) is an effective way to conserve energy for high-stakes decisions and interactions. If the issue is one you can let drop, consider folding your cards.

4. Release and Regroup

Once you’re resolved the conflict one way or another, release your energy from it as efficiently as possible. Debrief, exercise, take time off or do whatever else you need to do to process the experience. Harvest the learning from the conflict, decide what you will (and won’t) do to tie up loose ends, and make notes that will help you the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.

5. Clean Up Your Narrative

There’s a good chance you’ll be asked about the situation by an employee, colleague, or possibly the news media. Craft an external (and internal!) narrative that preserves privacy and dignity for all parties involved. Refrain from the temptation to use this opportunity to get the upper hand. Going forward, allow experience and the passage of time to put the situation in its proper perspective.

High-level business advice addresses emotional intelligence as well as the nuts and bolts of running a company. Keep these tips in mind as you navigate the interpersonal aspects of entrepreneurship.