Conflict is an inevitable part of running a small business, says chartered organisational psychologist Frank O’Connor, but managed the right way, it can lead to positive things, like new ideas, products, services, or ways of doing business.
People don’t always agree. If you want your workers to feel valued, engaged and trusted, they need be able to voice their opinions – even if they’re different to your own.
“If everyone agrees with the boss’s point of view all the time, your company’s directions and efforts will get stale fast,” says O’Connor.
Navigating a difference of opinion might not come naturally, but listening to different ideas and viewpoints rather than shutting them down, could lead to places you wouldn’t get to on your own. “Effectively resolving conflicts within your company can actually build a strong and diverse team that will keep fresh ideas and creativity flowing.”
O’Connor says most people aren’t as good at listening as they think they are. There’s a tendency to treat a conversation as a chance to get your own point of view across, waiting for a pause so you can jump in with your own opinions.
But he says if you want to resolve issues, build trust and manage conflict well, the first step is to actively listen.
Active listening is the first step in understanding each other’s points of view. It leads to:
Experts have recommended the following tools and resources to help small business owners communicate with employees and build a resilient business.