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Managing conflict as an entrepreneur

Though entrepreneurs are different to mainstream business people and small business owners, as with other businesses, they have to learn to deal with conflict.
Managing conflict as an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are more likely to have to deal with conflict they are currently facing themselves, then manage conflictual situations between others - at least while their enterprise is still in startup mode. However, learning to deal with conflict now as a ‘one man show’ will greatly assist when they are faced with having to handle conflict between others, when they employ staff.

Thankfully, the world abounds with different sources of information and guidance for entrepreneurs. In fact, there is the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Week happening mid-November. This is a fine example of how entrepreneurs are supported in their efforts.

Understand the conflict

Understanding the type of conflict that is being presented is the first step to finding a solution. Essentially, there are different types of conflict, but the end result and solution you find will either give you a win-win situation, a win-lose result or it will be mixed, with some shared goals met and compromises in place. However, through understanding all elements of the conflict that has arisen, the best strategies can be implemented.

Acceptance that conflict is not necessarily bad

While entrepreneurs are all on their own for the better part of their startup phase, eventually people will need to be employed and partnerships will need to be drawn up. These ‘other’ people are bound to cause conflict. This is not the worst thing that could happen. Conflict brings about broader thinking, it presents opportunities to find creative solutions and it changes perspective. Some conflicts will be irrelevant time-wasters, but others could change the entire way the business is run or force new strategies out of age-old tactics. No matter the result, managing conflict in a way that might change things is worth the time and effort.

Go public

Managing conflict behind closed doors is what happened when the world valued politeness over honesty. Nowadays many businesses boast about transparency and honesty and entrepreneurs should include these attributes in their way of handling conflict. If conflict arises, handle it all in a public arena. The meetings held to arrive at a solution should include outside parties who might add value to the conversation and fresh perspective. In addition, the conflict should be handled on the business premises and not in a private arena or after hours. In addition, of course, everything must be documented; meetings must have minutes drawn up, plans going forward must be documented and all decisions must be signed off.

Ultimately, while conflict and collaboration are not interchangeable they certainly are born out of each other. Entrepreneurs are bound to end up collaborating, which will lead to some type of conflict, and this will require further collaboration in order for the business to enjoy continued growth. What is more, if entrepreneurs want to enjoy a prosperous business future, they are going to have to employ staff. This means finding out about human resource management courses completed on a part time basis and conflict resolution workshops should be on the top of their priority list.

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