We all get involved in various types of conflicts and disputes throughout our business day. They can arise in all sorts of ways, including a dispute with a co-worker or an employee, a dispute with a vendor or supplier, a conflict with a competitor, a complaint or demand from a consumer of your product or service.
Here are a few tips to help you deal with these conflicts:
- Think before you speak or fire off an email. What you say or write will set the tone and may affect whether the dispute can ultimately be resolved. Don’t respond emotionally. Don’t escalate the fight if you can avoid it;
- Watch what you write in a communication or email. It will be discoverable later in a lawsuit if the dispute can’t be resolved. By the same token, a clear concise statement of your position early in the dispute can set the groundwork for a resolution;
- Try to resolve any conflict early on through an open dialogue. This is always preferable to a long drawn out dispute or legal battle, which may be very costly for you or your company;
- Consult with legal counsel at an early stage. It is best to know your rights when you communicate with the other side. Know if you are on firm legal ground for your position. Know if what you communicate is contradicted by your contract or your own policy;
- Make sure you get legal advice on responding to demand letters. A consumer demand letter may require a response within thirty days and may require that you state certain things;
- Involve professionals that may be available to you. Speak to an in-house or even outside human resources professional for an employee or co-worker dispute. Remember that they have likely experienced what you are going through and can provide some excellent advice and direction;
- If all else fails, you may consider involving a neutral mediator to help you resolve the dispute. Your lawyer can help with this process.
Disputes in your business can take you away from the tasks at hand and what you do best. They can be stressful and draining. It’s best to resolve them and get back to what you do best.