Like it or not, every entrepreneur has to deal with conflict. There’s nothing you can do about it. Entrepreneurs have to deal with everything from marital conflicts to business conflicts, to conflicts with friends and more.
So the question isn’t whether or not you’ll have conflicts, but rather how effectively you’ll deal with them.
One thing that separates great entrepreneurs from average or ordinary ones is their skill level in in working through conflicts. I used to be terrible in dealing with conflicts until I studied this topic to find out if there’s a formula with how it works.
Below are the five different levels for entrepreneurs to deal with conflict, ranging from least to most effective.
5 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Deal with Conflict
In this first level, entrepreneurs tend to be stubborn about whatever belief system they have. For example, you can get into a conversation or debate with someone who believes in their position so strongly they aren’t willing to cooperate. This is the lowest level of dealing with conflict.
Have you ever met someone who tries to please everybody? They are people pleasers. As long as everybody is happy, that’s all that matters. The challenge with the issue with trying to accommodate people is that everyone is happy, except one person, and that’s you.
The third level of dealing with conflict is avoidance. Have you ever met someone that avoids problems and just doesn’t want to deal with them? Eventually what happens is that five or ten years down the road, there are conflicts and problems with so many people that have been avoided and all of a sudden everything comes at you at the same time.
You’ve probably heard that the best way to deal with problems is to compromise.
Let me explain to you why compromise isn’t the best option.
I want you to think about two business partners that are lost in the desert. They get to a road where right in front of them is a cliff. If they go straight, they’ll fall off the cliff. One partner says, “We’ve got to go left” and the other partner says, “We’ve got to go right.” They argue about it for a while and finally decide to follow the advice that everyone gives and that is to compromise. I don’t have to tell you how that turned out!
So while you may have been told that compromise is the best way to deal with conflict, there is a better way, that the great entrepreneurs have figured out.
When you collaborate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the best idea or that someone else has the best idea. It’s about taking your idea and someone else’s idea and putting them together, and from there dealing with conflict together, in a way that leads to something bigger than either of the ideas would have been alone.
The great entrepreneurs learn how to collaborate.
My challenge to you is to take an inventory of yourself. How do you deal with conflict in your business? Are you stubborn? Do you accommodate? Do you avoid? Do you compromise? Or do you collaborate?
Find whatever of the five levels listed above you are and look for ways to move to the next level until eventually you learn how to collaborate when it comes to the problems in your business.