In a startup, one conflict between the team can lead to a downward spiral. A conflict needs to be managed properly so the team can stay focused on the business. However, the majority of resolving a conflict relies on your own preparation; you must first understand your own ability to approach the conflict. By knowing yourself and your state of mind you take control of your own behavior even under stressful conditions as represented by a conflict situation. If you can’t manage your own emotions then your ability to affect a solution to a conflict where others are emotionally involved becomes very limited. Once you understands their own personal situation and state of mind they need to frame the environment where the conflict discussion will occur. A good environment and state of mind will increase your chances for creating a win-win outcome. 

These 4 questions should be considered when analyzing the situation:

  1. Should it be on “neutral ground” so as not to intimidate the employee(s) involved?
  2. What time of day? Is the other person a “morning person?”
  3. Should the leader engage the employee alone or with a colleague who can observe behaviors, body language, and so on?
  4. How much preparation is appropriate and how much formality is required? Could an employee lawsuit result?

These four considerations can influence the outcome of the conflict resolution and, if left to be random, the impact is often negative. Recognizing how this kind of analysis is valuable should incentivize you to prepare properly and bring in a third party to participate as needed.

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