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Ways to handle conflict in business

Business life is fraught with many difficulties. No matter what you do, your views will always conflict with someone else’s, whether it’s an internal workplace dispute, or a clash with a client. There’s no way to avoid it, so learning ways to handle conflict in business is a key skill.

The first step is probably the most important of all the ways to handle conflict in business – stay calm. However much the other party has upset you, however aggrieved you feel, letting the red mist descend is a bad idea and will only make things worse. Escalation is the worst thing for any conflict. If everyone can remain calm, you’re already making progress.

Next, listen to the other side of the argument. Genuine listening isn’t just about finding new ammunition to strengthen your own point; one of the essential ways to handle conflict is to understand what the other person means, what their overall intention was, and how they now feel about the situation. Listening isn’t a token gesture – by remaining receptive and looking at a situation from someone else’s perspective, you can often understand why they’re upset; this, in turn, can help you to resolve the issue.

One of the most important ways to handle conflict is to approach the conflict positively, and to look for opportunities for productive resolution, rather than just stubbornly fighting your own corner for the sake of being right. In many cases, compromise is the order of the day – very few people enjoy confrontations, and most people will be glad to find a middle ground where nobody feels that they’ve had to give in completely.

These are just a few of the most effective ways to handle conflict. It’s important to remember that the successful resolution of an issue can, ironically, strengthen your relationship with a client or supplier. You and the other party end up with a shared experience, a new-found respect for one another, and a new understanding of how to move forward positively. What’s not to like?

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