When you hear people talk about business, they sometimes say you need to be tough to survive. The thing is, people use tough in different ways.
Being tough, in the sense of being resilient, will help you to deal with the challenges you’ll face. Being tough in the tough-guy sense of the word is not so important, and it may be better to avoid it altogether.
Empathy is talked about a lot more than it used to be, and it’s as relevant to business life as it is to your personal life. Showing empathy when problems arise can go a long way to diffusing them. Taking a hard-nosed, unempathetic stance might make things worse.
It’s not just the person you are in dispute with that will notice
Let’s say a customer makes a complaint. Many others will take note of how you deal with that one person. Your employees and colleagues will notice. Customers and potential customers could notice, and people who might look to invest or help you out in some way could notice too.
Even if no one else witnessed you talk to the customer or read your emails, they might hear about the event via word of mouth or the internet. Remember that an unhappy customer is much more likely to post a negative review than a happy customer is a positive one.
While you sometimes have to take a hard stance in a business dispute, trying to see things from the other person’s point of view can go a long way. It can help you resolve the issue and retain your working relationship and wider reputation.