Are you having conflicts in your business? Here is some general information and quick tips on handling conflicts

Conflict is often thought to be negative such as a disagreement or controversy.  However, especially in a business setting, conflict can be positive. Conflict often creates opportunities for growth and new ideas in the business and can lead to improving the business profits and / or efficiency.

Conflict if escalated can often lead to anger.  When someone is angry, usually they are focusing on their anger, and not the underlying issue.  Therefore,  it is best to diffuse the anger before meeting to discuss how to resolve the conflict.  Some tips for diffusing anger are:

–          Take 10 deep breaths before speaking

–          Go for a walk (or some other form of exercise)

–          Write down why you think the other party is upset.  Then listen to them (without interruption) explain why they are upset.

In order to resolve conflict you have to communicate your feelings and thoughts.  What you may not know is that communication is approximately 90% non verbal.  This means WHAT you are saying is only 10% of the message the other person is receiving.  The other 90% is HOW you are saying it.  Such as the tone you are using and your body language.  Next time you are communicating pay attention to the following:

–          What is the tone of your voice (for example: are you using a raised voice? Are you using sarcasm?)

–          What is your body language (for example: are you sitting down or are you standing and shaking your finger at the other person?)

What you are saying is still important.  Because conflict often brings out people’s emotions, it is important to speak in a non threatening way.  An example of how to do this is the “I statement”.  The “I statement” allows you to express your thoughts in a manner so the other person should not feel personally attacked.   The “I statement” looks something like this.

I feel (insert your emotion) when you (insert action) because (insert reason).  I would appreciate it if (insert a possible solution).

For example:  I feel disrespected when you arrive late for work because we agreed you would start work at 8 a.m.  I would appreciate it if you would arrive on time for work.

 Differing opinions are good for your business.  With the simple tips above you will be able to handle conflicts as they arise in your business.  Do not be afraid of different opinions.  Remember the old saying: “If two people are in business together and they agree on everything, one of them is not needed.”

For more information, kindly contact the Business & Investment Facilitation Unit at or at 822-0175.