Tactics That Defuse Explosive Business Conflicts

What do you do when you’ve got a beef with someone—whether it’s an employee, partner, customer or investor?

Or vice versa? How do you defuse conflict in your business relationships before it blows up into time-consuming crises?  

Try these tactics:  

  • Clear your head. When you find yourself ready to lash out in anger, take time out. Say something like “I realize it’s important that we talk about this issue, but I need some time to collect my thoughts so that we can talk about this more constructively. When would be a good time for us to get together?”


  • Focus on resolution, not “winning.” No one has to win or lose to come to resolution: Seek to resolve the problem in the best possible way for everyone — especially any customers involved.


  • Seek to understand first, and then explain yourself. This is tough, especially when someoneis angry with you. Try not to jump to your own defense when someone says things like “You’re always late!” or “You never get it right. What’s wrong with you?” Listen calmly. Then try to understand where that person is coming from. This exercise alone will defuse most of your conflicts before they blow up.


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