Getting Along

Working together with a partner or a team can have great benefits for any business: more hands available to get work done, more eyes open for opportunities and pitfalls, and more brains pitching ideas and coming up with solutions. Building a strong team and leading new team members to greater success is also personally rewarding for all involved.

However, it also comes with its own set of unique difficulties. Personalities can clash, especially among strong entrepreneurial types. Mistakes – which everyone makes sometimes – can cause friction among those who are depending on each other. And heck, sometimes people just have a bad day and take it out on their teammates.

There are a few things you can do to help avoid conflict and resolve it when it arises which you should always keep in the back of your mind when you’re a member of a team, and especially when you’re a leader.

1) Admit mistakes. Let’s face it, we’ve all screwed up before. I still screw up sometimes, and you do too. It’s part of being human. You have to be willing to accept that you might be wrong about something or that the problem may have been your fault, and be willing to apologize for it and own up to it. Your colleagues will respect you for it.

2) Let people talk. Nobody likes being interrupted. Let people have their say and really hear them out. You might think you know what they’re going to say next, but even if you’re right, giving them the chance to say it ensures they feel like they had a chance to be heard and helps defuse


3) Wait. If you’re in the heat of the moment, you’re much more likely to be aggressive and take out your anger. When time allows, don’t immediately rush to settle a problem you may have with another colleague; give yourself time for anger to cool on all sides. Then, take a slow and steady approach based on problem solving rather than accusation. As the saying goes – fix the problem, not the blame.