How to Handle a Business Dispute

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A fight or argument at work is really never fun. Not only does it create awkwardness and tension in this place that is supposed to be professional, but it also detracts from the work that has to be done. What can you do the next time an argument erupts at work, and you’re responsible for breaking it up? If you’re looking for alternative dispute resolution, here are a few tips that can help:

Stay Neutral
Unless someone is really being attacked, you must remain neutral in the disagreement. If you can’t do that, find a neutral party. Otherwise, the fight is only going to escalate. The person against whom you start fighting is going to become defensive that you’ve taken the other individual’s side. As a result, the original fight will intensify, and random issues might pop up between you and the other person.

Calm Everyone Down
Nothing is going to be accomplished if everyone continues to yell at each other and fight over the same old issue. Name calling and insult slinging are not acceptable solutions to the problem. The individuals fighting might need to be brought into separate offices for a while. You and another neutral party can each listen to one of the people talk out their feelings. Once they have calmed down, bring them into a neutral meeting ground to talk. Before they reach this point, you can discuss strategies and methods for resolving the problem with them so that another fight doesn’t start.

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Reach an Agreement
Sometimes, the disputes are going to be silly little fights. However, other times, they will actually be important to company policy and decision making, so some sort of resolution will simply have to be reached. Invite the party who is ultimately responsible for making the decision in the room to hear both sides. This individual should leave if the parties begin to fight with one another. If the decision must be made between the two people, invite in a moderator. The moderator will listen to both sides and offer suggestions as to how they can meet in the middle.

Legal Considerations
Always be careful when it comes to legal issues. For example, some companies have strict policies stating that no physical contact can be made between individuals. Therefore, you cannot touch any of the people involved in the fight to make them stop, or else you could wind up being the person who is in trouble.

Business disputes have a number of different angles to them. Once they are resolved, hopefully everyone can continue as normal.

Author Bio: Jeanie is a writer for and a stay at home mom of two boys. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and interior decorating.

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