A drawn out dispute with a customer, partner, employee or contractor could be devastating to your business. If you are lucky it will only cause stress and cost time. A serious dispute could damage your reputation, rack up considerable legal fees and jeopardize your business. Developing a strategy for handling conflicts will help you better manage a crisis and find an amicable solution that saves you both time and money. If you need legal assistance resolving a dispute, contact your LegalShield provider law firm.
Remain Professional – Disputes often escalate because someone feels they have been personally attacked. Avoid using accusatory language, sarcasm or threats of any kind. Speak in a calm and professional manner to help set the right tone.
Train Employees – Make sure your employees understand the proper procedure for handling a dispute. A frustrated employee trying to resolve a dispute on his or her own could make the problem much worse. Teach employees how to disarm conflict and make sure they are comfortable bringing concerns to you or a manager.
Documentation – Retain all documentation relating to the dispute. Signed contracts, invoices, HR records and correspondence may all be useful should your matter go to court.
Objectives – In some cases the origin of a dispute can become obscured by emotions. Try to determine exactly what you want and ask the other party what they want. This will give you the right perspective to find a resolution.
Compromise – Do not confuse compromising with losing. In many cases giving up a small point could ultimately save you a great deal of time and money.
Mediation – There are many reasons why it may be impossible for you and the other party to reach a compromise on your own. In such cases you may benefit from professional mediation. Mediation has several benefits over court action. Mediation can be more cost effective and unlike public court hearings, mediation is confidential. Mediated settlements are often easier to collect, as both parties agree to them; however, if the other party does not comply, mediated settlements are fully enforceable in court.
Court – Some matters can only be resolved in court. Talk with your attorney about the best legal strategy for your matter. Depending on the nature of your dispute, small claims court may be an option.
Learn – Every dispute or challenge is a learning opportunity. Think about how you can avoid problems in the future. Apply those lessons to your company policies and train employees accordingly. Do you need to improve your contracts? Should you refresh your employee manual? Do employees need additional training? Turn a difficult experience into something that will help you and your business grow.