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Settling Business Disputes: Can You Agree to Disagree?

Efficiency is the name of the game at Agents of Efficiency (obviously) so we’re making it even more efficient for you to improve your business. Every week, we sort through all the boring stuff to bring you the best tips from the wide world of the web. For this week’s #2tips4tues, we discuss settling business disputes, and how to maintain your composure.

For an entrepreneur, a business is like a baby. So it’s no surprise that when your business feels threatened, you can feel hurt, angry, and unable to handle the situation professionally. Small Business Revolution outlines a few ways to make it through a dispute without destroying the relationship or the business.

Know the Root Cause

Arguments can go very far very fast when both parties feel unheard and neither completely understand the root of the issue. Break your disagreement down to the fundamental issue. Decipher whether the argument is over a fundamental business topic – such as different opinions about how the business should brand itself – or whether there are hurt feelings fueling a minor disagreement. Oftentimes when feelings like resentment or anger are not dealt with and expressed, they will continually resurface with each interaction. When negative feelings and assumptions are involved, small disagreements can be blown out of proportion.

Wait Until Feelings Clear

So if you do find that negative feelings are involved, what can you do? Sometimes the first step, no matter how impatient you feel, is to wait. Waiting until you shift from a place of reactivity to responsiveness is extremely important, especially if anger is present. Once the initial reactive thoughts have cleared, you can assess: 1. why you became upset, 2. what decision you believe is best based on a more rational analysis. Don’t contact the person you are in a disagreement with until you have a clear idea of what needs to be said. If you’re not sure you can say it calmly and in a straightforward manner, give it some more time. Cool off, then talk.