Managing Conflict Within Business Partnerships
A business partnership is like any other close relationship in your life. There may come a time when you do not agree and even experience outright conflict, making it difficult to run the company effectively.
Partnership conflicts do not have to impact your business in a negative way. The following are some tips for responding to and managing points of conflict between two or more partners:
- Be proactive: If there are issues you believe may lead to disputes in the future, try to address them from the beginning. One common problem occurs when one business partner believes he or she is doing more work than the others, so it’s helpful if partners outline roles and activities ahead of time.
- Be open-minded: When you own a business, each decision you make can seem extremely important and even personal. If a business partner disagrees with your desired course of action, it’s easy to take offense. Take some time to relax and reflect, thinking about your partner’s point of view on the matter. This can foster understanding and lead to better decision-making.
- Communicate frequently and honestly: Meet with your business partner on a regular basis to discuss any key issues and the “big picture” of your company. This meeting can be relatively short, but it should give you an opportunity to discuss any problems before they become larger disputes.
- Seek outside help: Some conflicts are too big for business partners to resolve on their own. You may opt to work with a trained mediator to discuss any issues and help you come to a resolution you might not have considered.