Conflict is inevitable, no matter how strong a partnership is — in fact, 85 percent of employees said they have experienced conflict in the workplace. But it can be anticipated and minimized. Ballmer has emphasized the importance of respect in communication between himself and Gates, stating that they had "a brotherly relationship in the good parts and the bad parts."
If you're being intentional about effective and open communication, potential conflicts should be readily identified and discussed candidly and respectfully. Consider utilizing techniques like active listening or enlisting the support of a third party to provide an outside perspective.
Every time you're able to demonstrate your core company values, like integrity or respect, you strengthen your company culture. Thus, when conflict is approached as an inevitable — but resolvable — aspect of doing business together, it becomes an opportunity to put your values into practice and strengthen the bonds that hold your team together.
No matter how much the nature of work continues to change, strong relationships will remain the cornerstone of good business. Strong partnerships at the top lead to strong relationships within teams and a supportive culture across the company. Companies that understand this and establish a culture that supports relationship building will thrive.
Rhett Power is the co-founder of Wild Creations and the author of "The Entrepreneurs Book of Actions."
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