How to Handle Boss Fights: Resolving Co-Founder Conflicts
Running a company together is in no way an easy task, Going through all the legal procedures like Comapny Registration getting Import Export License and Trademark Filing etc.
Sunday November 04, 2018,
6 min Read
Running a company together is in no way an easy task, Going through all the legal procedures like Comapny Registration getting Import Export License and Trademark Filing etc. along with managing logistics can be a very challenging task. In a way, you can say it is the marriage of the business world. So like a marriage, it is vital to keep both parties happy in order for the relationship or the business to prosper. However, no relationship whether it's a marriage or a business is free from hiccups, conflicts and tempers rising. Some say if managed efficiently, confrontations can bring path-breaking perspectives to both parties involved. So with that hope, let's look at how best to manage and efficiently handle confrontations and conflicts between co-founders of a company.
First and foremost, this piece is not the bible of conflict resolution because what may seem to resolve conflicts between two people could add fuel to the fire for other groups of people because different people have different reactions to these situations. It might be a step too far to say that startups may fail because of conflicts between Co-Founders. However, it could be one of the major contributing factors as if there is trouble at the apex, there is nothing preventing from the negative vibes spreading over to the rest of the company and causing it to rot. Well, that will happen only if the conflicts are not managed and resolved. Let's look at some tips and tricks on how to resolve the conflict between the top-dogs of a company.
Let's face it, the structure of the business whether you form Private Limited Company or you do an LLP Formation, it has very little impact on whether or not a conflict will arise. This is because no matter what the business structure of the operation, Co-Founders always have to work in close quarters to each other and it is pretty hard for two people working so close to never have any disagreements
First of all, we need to address the root causes of these conflicts. The conflicts could arise due to a variety of reasons ranging from divided opinion on big issues, personalities differences or even management styles. Conflicts can also turn into mountains from molehills from very petty issues like cleaning up the office space. Of course, communication saves relations is always true so it is always pivotal to have honest, free-flowing conversation. This will not only resolve an argument but it will amount to improving the company's bottom line, promote teamwork and increase efficiency.
Resolving Conflicts Step by Step
Plan of Action
Be prepared before-hand even before there is a chance of a conflict arising. In order to avoid any disputes, keep your roles, responsibilities, liability, profit distribution and most important of all conflict resolution strategies in writing. Many of these things are already laid down in the Memorandum when you Register a Company. However, in addition to the legal formalities, it can prove beneficial to form up a founder's agreement
The main questions this founder's agreement can address are how will you pursue conflict resolution? Is a third-party intervention necessary? How is the decision making process split-up between the owners? The basic responsibilities and major roles each co-founder will play in the company has to be made sure by this founders agreement.
Having a founders agreement in place will help you identify issues in the working style of the owners how they work together and how they counter each other. It will also help identify issues before they even crop up and you're at each other's throats figuratively speaking, could also be literal(let's hope not). assess how you will overcome disagreements before they even occur. It will go a long way to kill the fight before it even begins.
Address the Conflicts Head on
While letting issues slide by and ignoring the fights might work in the very short run span of things, ignoring even the pettiest of arguments could be a brewing volcano inside of a mountain ready to burst, erupt and burn everything in its path. So it is pivotal to address the conflicts co-founders face because they might re-occur or even escalate into something disrespectful and irreversible. The moment a conflict arises with your partner in the business, set aside a time to discuss the matter privately. Of course, fighting in front of your employees will only be harmful to your reputation as managers.
Open up your mind and your ears and really try to understand the point of view of your fellow director in times of conflict and dire arguments take as much as you have to give and probably it will eventually clear up that both of you were coming from a place of concern for the business and were only trying to improve the business and its operations.
Let's just understand one thing in a fight, it might seem like one person or the other is winning and you might feel like it is crucial that you win. However, one thing is for certain that if the argument doesn't end and tip in the favor of one or the other co-founders, the real loser in this situation could be your business which you built with so much hard work and put your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into while taking significant career risks. SO, don't be afraid to take one for the team every once in a while because as they say you win some, you lose some.
When you give as much as you take from these business relationships you stand a chance to come out even stronger as a couple of individuals as well as a combined business unit.
Now onto the main part, the solution. Basically, any upheaval in the co-founder structure of the company always hits the stock and business of the company thus, it is in the best interests of the company to come to an amicable solution for the good of the company and not just to boost your personal ego. The goal of having a co-founder by your side is to face up to the challenges of the unforgiving market it's constants ups and downs and its constant battles and conflicts and not getting dragged into arguments within yourselves. The relationship of a business partner is as fragile and as important as many other relationships affecting your life and hence should be dealt with the utmost care and respect for the other person it is the only way the business will move forward as a reckoning force.