How to deal with conflict in business


Conflict in the business world is more challenging for women than for their male counterparts.

Women are socialized into being the nurturing kind. And that aside, we prefer to have everyone working together and getting along. That is why conflict can not only make the business world uncomfortable, but make more work for women – because we feel it is our duty to solve the conflict even it means sacrificing our own goals or opinions to do so.

However, there are strategies a woman can use to deal with conflict in a productive way so it can work for them, build up a reputation for being someone who doesn’t stand for this behaviour — and prevent it from happening again.

The pragmatic guide on how to deal with conflict in business:

Conflict can be solved by first identifying the What, Who and the Why.

Identify the conflict

The smallest of things can become the biggest of issues. When there is conflict (or you can sense there is), look at the big picture first. Work out what the actual conflict is. This requires you to remove all emotional outbursts, gossip and knee-jerk reactions so you can see in black and white what the issue is.

Find the source

The second step is to find out where the conflict started. Was the conflict a result of a person’s dislike for a decision? Don’t underestimate what people will do in order to get their way … or what they will do when they don’t. The saying ‘divide and conquer’ is very real in the business world today and you can’t escape having to deal with conflict started on that basis sometimes.

Finding out who was the instigator of the conflict is crucial. This way you can take them out of the situation and have a one-on-one discussion with them. The key here is to listen to their concerns and find a solution. Yes, you will need to help them navigate a way out of the corner they feel they are in.

Why did they start it?

The reason for starting conflict is often down to greed, jealously or rejection. People feel they are missing out on money, promotions, opportunities or feel they are being left out of a decision.

These reasons are easily fixed. There is always another option to the above list and conflict born from them is often a result of miscommunication in the first place.

When there is no chance…

All the strategies above will help you solve conflict. However, there is one type of conflict-starter you cannot appease. The narcissist or ‘workplace sociopath’. Think of them as a workplace arsonist. Their entire life is built on lying, manipulating and bullying people to get to where they want. There is no ’solving’ this conflict unless you make a very quick decision to remove that person from your business dealings immediately.

If you want to build yourself a reputation of someone who stands their ground and can solve a conflict swiftly then remember the saying: if in doubt, throw them out.

About Amanda Rose

Founder of The Business Woman Media. Amanda Rose is also the only 'strategic connector', a brand strategist, keynote speaker and host of Amanda Rose TV. Connect with Amanda Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or visit

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