In a startup, preventing damaging internal conflict within your team is crucial.  When approaching a conflict, you must first assess your ability to engage successfully (outlined in our book and course Managing Conflict), assess the situation, and determine what circumstances might influence outcomes.

Several steps need to be taken to successfully manage conflict in order to achieve the best outcome. As the owner of the conflict frame the situation so you can develop your own solution and build ownership of the outcome. Framing the situation helps you engage the conflict intelligently and to be watchful for signs of external events influencing the discussion.

Ask yourself these 7 questions to help frame the situation:

  1. What is the nature of the conflict, its dimensions and the people involved?
  2. How much is opinion versus fact?
  3. How personally involved in the situation are the people you’re going to talk with?
  4. What is occurring around the people you’re meeting with? There could be something external to the conflict influencing them (e.g., sick child, marital or coworker issues)
  5. How much do I expect, or want, to achieve during this discussion?
  6. How do I describe a successful outcome?
  7. What signs will I look for that we need to disengage to avoid a harmful outcome?

Once you’ve determined your own capability for engaging and the situation involved, you can move on to the other key elements of a successful outcome:

  1. Select the best circumstances for a meeting
  2. Developing your plan of engaging with the people in conflict
  3. Define the tools for diagnosing the root causes of the conflict
  4. Prove the benefit of the doubt to everyone in conflict
  5. Lead the way to creating win-win options

In a startup, there is no room for team conflict as one big issue can lead to the downfall of your entire business.

To learn more about the process of Managing Conflict in your startup visit