How to Handle Disputes in Your Small Business

As an entrepreneur do you want to know how to handle disputes in your small business?

Note that conflict is inevitable in any organization either big or small.

This is why we’ve got these tips in order to help you handle the disputes in your small business.

How To Handle Disputes In Your Small Business

Strategies to Resolve Conflict at Work


How To Manage Disputes – Use a Chain of Command

Handle Disputes at Work

This is the first step on how to handle disputes in your small business.

This step entails the use of a chain of command

Teams require a well-defined chain of command.

The chain of command determines who is managing and assessing employee performance.

Who is promoting and demoting as part of their performance?

And who should be encouraging and empowering?

A properly constructed chain of command yields the following benefits.

  • An orderly way to make decisions
  • A tidy method to solve problems
  • A neat way to manage work disputes

Mediation is One of The Steps for Resolving Conflict In Your Small Business

Tips for Avoiding and Resolving Conflict in Your Small Business

This step involves learning to mediate.

Mediators help solve problems.

They assist people who are in the midst of conflict to find their own solutions.

These are people who may be called upon because they have the vantage point of an unbiased spectator.

Consider human resources management, a team leader, your boss, or a colleague as potential mediators.

Mediation is a kind of approach to resolving conflict that does not include a compulsory resolution.

The people who are involved in the dispute are the ones who make a decision on how the problem will be solved and any resolution achieved is consensual.

If there is one distinct trait of mediation, it has got to be the fact that it encourages communication.

Involved parties have the opportunity to better understand the other party’s side of the story.

The cooperative exchange of information strengthens working relationships.

Also, this process helps in developing problem-solving skills.

This is most especially for those who are involved.

Resolving Business Disputes by Encouraging Dialogue

conflict management

This step of handling disputes in business involves encouraging dialogue.

Problem-solving is central to just about any kind of conflict, be it in business life or personal life.

Dialogue is a big part of problem-solving

However, the problem can’t be solved until it is acknowledged and identified.

This is akin to a doctor diagnosing the disease first before he can make proper prescriptions and treatments.

Digging deeper into the root cause of the problem necessitates an emphasis on asking good questions and also fact-finding.

In a dispute, it is important that there must always be exchanges of points of view and information.

It should be done without a need to argue or become defensive.

This exchange of information has to be flexible enough and should be two-way.

When in dialogue, exchanges of suggestions and reactions are always welcome.

You may use the following phrases as a guide on how you can effectively exchange dialogues during a dispute:

  • There is something that has been brought to my attention and I would like to take a moment to discuss it.
  • I’m trying to solve a problem, and before it gets bigger, I’d like to get your thoughts about it.
  • I know that I have yet to gather all the facts so with due respect, let me know what I have been missing here.
  • I would appreciate knowing more about your stand on the issue. Can we sit down and talk things out?
  • I might be taking a risk, but I’d like to get your thoughts on what happened in the meeting today.
  • When you and I didn’t agree on a particular point…….

Understand The Facts in Order to Handle Disputes

conflict management techniques

This is another step to follow when handling disputes in your small business.

It involves getting inside the issue and probing for more information.

You will rarely have all the information you need to clear up the issues in the beginning.

Also, you may have to use an array of questioning techniques.

This will help you collect data to resolve the conflict in your business, or at least start with the resolution process.

First, you must define the problem that’s impacting the workplace.

Then, communicate the problem to concerned parties.

Schedule a meeting and make it a point that people involved in the conflict will be in attendance.

Define the roles at the beginning of the meeting.

Make it clear who will be the one to discuss the problem.

And make sure that both parties will be given a chance to air their side of the story.

Reiterate that no one will say a word unless it is time for them to speak.

In addition to this, set guidelines at the beginning of the meeting.

You may want to encourage both parties to identify individual interests, ask questions, and propose solutions.

Identify Who Owns The Conflict In order To Deal With Conflict

how can a business resolve conflicts?

Work conflicts are not simple.

The nature of each conflict is unique.

Most of the time, there are underlying issues that would often end up resolving more than one issue.

It is as if the major issue has branched into smaller yet equally damaging ones.

This is why it is important that you be able to identify the problem first, then, separate other issues.

This is just so you can determine who owns which conflict and how each will be best resolved.

A guiding principle of conflict resolution is that the problem should be resolved by the person or people who own it.

Conflict Management by Setting Boundaries

the ground rules for conflict resolution

Boundaries have damaged today’s workplaces as the environment becomes more informal and somewhat lax.

Yet boundaries, those invisible lines that define roles and manage interpersonal relationships at work, are vital.

Boundaries outline one’s limits.

When you set boundaries, it only means you are defining responsibilities and fostering accountability.

Boundaries also define limits for communication as well as expectations.

Establishing boundaries likewise aids in differentiating between personal issues and professional lives.

Maintaining a balance between openness and confidentiality is important.

Create Possibilities and Opportunities

common strategies for resolving conflicts

This is one of the different ways to handle disputes in your workplace or business.

When people in a conflict situation stay focused on their position.

They tend to think that there are only two solutions.

One that works for them and one that works for the other person involved in the issue.

This suppresses any creative thinking.

When you create options, there needs to be an open mind to come up with solutions.

The one that will work for everyone and meet common ground.

These statements will help in creating viable options:

  • That’s an interesting option, but it may not be the best solution for this particular issue.
  • There needs to have a thorough examination of the matter, It should be examined along with other recommendations.
  • We want as many ideas as possible, so, no assessments or reactions are to be entertained at the moment. We’ll do that later.
  • If we’re going to get past this, we’re both going to have to change.
  • Let’s start by jotting down all possible opportunities.

Gauge Your Options

conflict management 2

This is another way to handle disputes in your business.

All being well, you’ve probably revealed quite a few possible solutions to resolve the dispute.

Now’s the time to prudently review and air each option.

Afterward, prioritize the most reasonable solutions available.

If necessary, take some time to make a final decision as to what action will be taken.

Consider the following statements essential for this phase:

  • Now that we have identified some possible solutions to solve this problem, let’s have an orderly discussion about each of them.
  • I’m afraid I can’t do what you’re asking. The guidelines for the type of action you want to take are set by regulations and this situation doesn’t fit those regulations. I can offer another solution that our policy will support.
  • That’s a really good idea. Even hearing how it worked before in a similar situation could be very helpful.

Keep Conflict Resolution Amicable

Effective steps for resolving conflict in your small business

This also an important step when handling disputes in your business.

A number of things could motivate someone to behave in a troublesome manner.

Tackle the situation on a positive note and resolve it.

One of these might be applicable in deescalating situations.

  • This is a professional workplace.
  • There’s no room for the rough language.
  • I wasn’t happy with what happened in the client meeting and would like to talk it out with you so that we both know that we’re on the same boat.

Be Aware of Your Intentions Versus The Impact Of What You Said

the ground rules for conflict resolution 2

People don’t always mean for their behavior or language to be unpleasant or intimidating.

But we can’t assume that behavior won’t have a negative impression on others.

Words and actions matter.

They both can have a huge impact on people’s ability to do their work and can cause conflicts to intensify.

It’s best to address negative behavior when it happens and explain the potential impact it has on others.

Here are some statements that could help deal with this.

  • When you make remarks directed at one member, you may believe you’re being helpful to him/her. But it has the effect of making everyone uncomfortable. This may not be obvious to you.
  • Bringing up this particular subject is a bit tough for me.
  • I’m sure you didn’t intend to be hurtful.
  • But, when you said/, did (what the other person did/said), it made me feel (marginalized/disregarded).
  • We value respect.
  • When you laughed at (name of the person) today in the staff meeting, when he was making a valid point, It was dismissive and inconsiderate. I want you to apologize to him today and let me know when that’s happened.

Keeping The Focus on The Facts and The Issue

Ways to Resolve Business Conflict

The statements will help you deal with conflict when you want to focus on the facts,

  • We need to stay focused on the current issue.
  • Those statements may be true, but they’re not relevant to this problem.
  • I understand you have doubts about whether we can work through this issue.
  • Let’s talk about it and think about how to resolve this as soon as possible.
  • I understand that you’re angry, but this has to be resolved.
  • I appreciate receiving the information, but repeated facts that I’ve already acknowledged is off-putting.
  • Although we value an open discussion, when decisions are made, we move as one towards the final goal.

People spend huge amounts of time in discussions based on observations or feelings.

Focusing on the facts, move the process to the central issue, then work towards resolving the conflict.

Many people skip this and conflicts grow.

So take the time to look at the facts before you jump into conclusions.

Here are some statements to consider

  • When you deliberately give faulty information, it affects your credibility. No one will take you seriously.
  • We can’t create our own reality. We have to have a common basis of facts.
  • That information hasn’t been corroborated. We are not going to consider it now.
  • These facts may be inconvenient for your position. but they represent the truth.
  • There is nothing to support that statement, which appears to be gossip.
  • Let’s stick to the facts we know and if anything changes, we can adjust our position.

Stay Out of Conflict You Can Help With

Ways to manage conflict in a small business

If you find yourself being pulled into a conflict that you have nothing to do about and you don’t have the power or means to handle it, you’ll need to get out of the way so you won’t further add to the conflict.

Consider these phrases:

  • You need to find some common ground where you can talk sensibly to each other and not to me. I’m not part of your problem.
  • You both need to work out your differences and stop spreading the issue to everyone you stumble upon.
  • Don’t let this dispute affect the morale of the business and the company.
  • Please get together and work out the issue. Your behavior is impacting the rest of the team.
  • Both of you have to decide how you’re going to resolve it so no further conflicts will arise.
  • Have you tried talking to the other party about your concern?

Learn to Say “I’m Sorry”

How Small-Business Owners Should Approach Conflict

This is the last step to consider when handling disputes for your business.

No matter how carefully we speak.

There will be times when we say the wrong thing or hurt someone.

In these cases, it’s critical to apologize and move on.

A genuine apology is never a sign of weakness.

Rather, it’s a vital part of conflict resolution and is necessary to clear the air of any ill feelings.

Your apology must be sincere, and if you don’t mean it, it’s better left unsaid.

If admitting you were wrong is difficult for you, practice it until you’re comfortable.

Being able to apologize and sincerely mean it is the sign of someone with high emotional intelligence.

Here are some phrases to use when apologizing:

  • I didn’t follow through on the report, and that delayed you. I’m sorry.
  • What can I do to help you get it done?
  • That humor was out of line. I regret I made light of what was a serious situation.
  • When you shared the impact our issue had on you, it really went right to my heart. I had no idea this was so difficult for you, and I sincerely apologize.
  • I apologize that my failure to see the issue has impacted some of you.

Final Thoughts on How to Handle Disputes in Your Small Business

That’s basically all you need to know about how to handle disputes in your small business.

Remember a healthy work environment will improve the productivity level of you and your team members.

Due to this, you must ensure that you try to settle any conflict that may arise in the process of running your business as quickly as possible.

Keep these tips in mind, apply them when trying to handle disputes in your small business and start experiencing a more productive workforce.

Other interesting articles have linked to this one; do remember to check them and have a clear understanding of how to handle disputes in your small business.