Every small business owner will face confrontation of some sort. Sometimes it will be with their customers, other times with their staff and other times with their suppliers or manufacturers.
But irrelevant of who is involved in the confrontation, there are several steps that you should take to deal with the situation, ensuring you resolve it as quickly and as efficiently as you possibly can.
1. Stay calm
When you’re in a confrontational situation, you can instinctively want to lash out – not necessarily physically, but verbally.
The problem here is if you do, you’ll do nothing but add fuel to the fire. Someone needs to be calm and collected and the person who does so first is the one who is going to take control of the situation – and the person who takes control of the situation is the person who is able to move it forward in the way they wish.
The only way you can truly diffuse a confrontational situation is by being able to react properly – and you can only do this if you listen.
By staying calm, you’re able to be a part of the situation in a potentially positive way, but it’s important to understand that once you’re calm and collected, you take the time to listen to what the other person is saying.
Find out why they’ve confronted you. Work out what’s angered them. Discover why they have felt the need to instigate conflict within your relationship.
What they tell you may not be exactly what you ideally want to hear, but it’s likely to be the truth and it’s this information you really need to be taking in.
The right reaction to a period of confrontation can be the difference between it continuing for an unnecessary amount of time or it ending there and then. How you respond will obviously vary upon the situation that you’re in at the time, but the most important point to remember is that the reaction needs to diffuse the situation and it must avoid being condescending in any way, shape or form to the other party.
It’s difficult to be able to do this, but by staying calm and listening to what the other party has to say, you should at the very least be able to start to resolve the conflict and reduce the potential hostility of the situation.
No one wants to have to deal with confrontation. As a small business owner, however, it’s unfortunately one of those things that you’re likely to be involved with on a more regular basis than you would have liked and it’s therefore important that you know how best to deal with it so you can diffuse the situation as quickly as possible.