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15 Tips To Realign And Resolve Conflict With Your Business Partner

No matter how well-aligned two business partners may be, there will inevitably be times when they don’t see eye to eye. However, when larger issues arise and the partners are no longer on the same page, it’s critical for both parties to get back on track to resolve their conflict. Otherwise, they risk making decisions (or making no decisions at all) that could ultimately harm the business and its culture.

If you and your business partner can’t seem to agree on an important issue, first remember that you’re working toward the same goal: the good of the company. Then, try these 15 strategies recommended by Young Entrepreneur Council members for realigning with your partner and resolving conflict.

1. Communicate Respectfully

Communication is key for conflict resolution. Each person should actively listen and acknowledge the opinions of the other in a respectful manner, then work together to find a solution that works for everyone. Sometimes, bringing in an uninvolved person in the form of a mediator can be useful to resolve the conflict if neither person is willing to compromise. – John Hall, Calendar

2. Remove The Emotional Component

You need to take the emotional component out of the discussion. Oftentimes, business partners are close friends or family members. When dealing with personal relationships, it is easy to allow emotions to inform the discussion. If it is not possible to take the emotional component out, a mediator is worth the effort. Then, afterward, there is less potential for a destroyed relationship. – Liam Leonard, DML Capital

3. Establish The Facts

The best way to resolve conflict in any situation is to establish the facts. You can’t have a productive conversation if two people have totally different versions of reality. When we have disagreements at our office, we go over the key points and establish a reality baseline before we get into the discussion. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

4. Find Common Ground

If you’re business partners, you probably got into it for the same reason and you probably shared goals. Find your common ground to build agreement on high-level decision-making. If you both agree on the end goal, you can focus on what decisions will get you there faster. When you share alignment, you can reach your goals fast and trust each other’s judgment. – Cody Candee, Bounce

5. Set The Foundation

Conflict of all kinds is best addressed by stating the overlap and common mission first. In this case, it should be the good of the company. After that, try empathy. Step into the other partner’s shoes and try to express their view as accurately and fairly as you can. Let them do the same for you. Think of these steps as the foundation for a productive conversation. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

6. Have An Active Listening Session

To resolve conflicts between business partners, try having an active listening session. Use it to allow each partner to bring up their opinions for three to five minutes. While one partner does that, the other needs to actively listen without reacting. It’s a good way to understand each partner’s opinions better, discuss things further and set aside differences to focus on a profitable partnership. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

7. Release Tension And Have Fun

Keep calm and do something fun. Go to a delicious lunch, play something that everyone likes or do any activity in which everyone has fun. This can release tension and stress that may be causing each partner to not open their mind to receive the ideas of the other. Once everyone is relaxed, a business conversation at the end of the day or the next day can pay off. – Kevin Ryan Tao, NeuEve

8. Focus On ‘Interests’

A great way to reframe a conflict is by addressing it as a matter of “interests” rather than “positions.” Positions are about what a partner wants to do or not do, while interests focus on why they think that or what their real desire is. When you focus on interests, it becomes easier to negotiate and find a solution that helps everyone without creating ill will. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

9. Follow A Conflict Resolution Process

It’s easier to prevent conflict when you have a clear communication policy in place. Regular reviews and assessment tools can help leaders maintain awareness and sensitivity toward one another. When conflict arises despite measures put in place, following the agreed-upon process serves as a resolution. – Libby Rothschild, Dietitian Boss

10. Change Your Environment

Go off-site. Oftentimes, misaligned partners need to get out of the office, off the Zoom or out of their routines. Spend time in person and out of the office to discuss key issues, opportunities and disagreements. – Ryan O’Connell, Boomn

11. Talk To A Third Party

Go to a coach together—which is like business therapy—so each person can get their opinions and points of view acknowledged. Often, partners just want to be heard and everyone wants what’s in the best interest of the business. – Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union

12. Write Down Your Thoughts

One tip that I find helpful when not seeing eye to eye with a business partner is having both parties write out their thoughts before the actual meeting. You won’t get so caught up in the moment and it can keep you from lashing out. Going back to your notes when losing track can help you get less emotional and see things from a more objective perspective. – Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO

13. Find The Root Cause

We are good at pointing out other people’s mistakes and shortcomings but not our own. We need someone to mediate and correct both sides, to come up with a resolution that will allow both sides to compromise. Take note of the issues you have, including timeline and proof if needed. Be ready to listen and communicate. It’s important to find the root cause without bias. – Daisy Jing, Banish

14. Be Timely

It’s normal not to always see eye to eye with your business partner. Conflict is healthy and helps you resolve issues with others. But to ensure it doesn’t reach a point of no return, make sure you communicate your frustrations sooner rather than later. Holding in your feelings will only lead to resentment and keep your business from flourishing. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

15. Take A Step Back

It’s helpful to take time when you’re in a disagreement with your partner. Talk to each other and express your views and why you feel that certain actions must be taken or not. Then, get some distance from the situation. Use the weekend to distract yourself and stay away from the topic of contention for a while. When you bring it up again later, you’ll find it easier to deal with. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

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