In business, dealing with difficult individuals goes with the territory. Some people are just naturally stubborn. Others seem to be naturally contentious. And even otherwise reasonable people can sometimes suddenly become quite disagreeable for no particular discernible reason.

But when the difficult person is a business partner, the business can suffer. How you deal with a difficult business partner depends on the way that person is difficult and the nature of your disagreements. Sometimes, all you need for dealing with a difficult partner is a little patience.

But in other situations, you may be compelled to seek legal advice – and take legal action. What tips do experts offer for handling uncooperative business partners? If your business is taking a hit because a partner is not cooperating, is there any effective legal action that you can take? When facing situations like these, a central Florida business attorney may be your only solution.

 

WHERE CAN YOU FIND HELP FOR DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PARTNERS?

If you’ll continue reading, you learn what the experts recommend for dealing with troublesome business partners, and you will also learn about your legal options in the event that a business partner over time becomes an insurmountable difficulty for you and your business.

A variety of classes, books, and videos offer in-depth advice for dealing with others in the business. The most famous may be Dale Carnegie’s 1936 book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

If you’re in business, you already know some of the effective strategies for handling difficult people, so what you are about to read will simply be some brief tips and reminders of several basic management principles.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE?

Perhaps the most important initial strategy for dealing with an uncooperative business partner is making a commitment to maintaining your own personal distance and boundaries.

We’ve all heard that misery loves company. Do not let someone who is consistently negative or uncooperative “pull” you into his or her “orbit.”

If you can be just a bit casually indifferent, aloof, or preoccupied while remaining pleasant and polite, it can help you keep your personal distance and help you remain objective and reasonable.

An uncooperative person incessantly finds problems and focuses on negatives. Particularly with a business partner, it is imperative to stick to business, to stick to the facts, and to work toward finding solutions. Noticing a problem is fine – if it generates a solution to the problem.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR OWN ATTITUDE AND EXAMPLE?

Projecting a confident attitude and setting a positive example is essential, and it helps you retain control in potentially negative situations. Let those around you know that problems are challenges and there is no problem that can’t be resolved by hard work and a positive attitude.

An uncooperative business partner may be a manipulative business partner. If you feel that you are being consciously manipulated, or if any discussion of a business matter turns contentious or hostile, cut it off at once, politely excuse yourself with a plausible pretext, and leave the room.

You can’t browbeat an uncooperative business partner into cooperating. Many difficult people enjoy arguing – or so it would seem – simply for the sake of being argumentative. You may have to accept that your business partner’s mind will not change – no matter what you say or do.

 

WHY IS COMPROMISE SOMETIMES THE BEST STRATEGY?

If you can compromise with an uncooperative business partner without hurting yourself or the business, do it. There is no need to “stand your ground” if a reasonable compromise can move a business matter forward positively and constructively.

Take care of yourself. Everyone is subject to stress, and dealing with uncooperative people all day can create plenty of stress. You need the right diet, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep if difficult people are a routine part of your workday.

Taking care of yourself includes having at least one advisor, partner, mentor, or close friend you can speak with honestly, relax with, and “vent” to – and someone you trust to offer good advice. Talking it out and getting some advice can help you to clarify the situation in your own mind.

 

WHAT IF YOU HAVE TO REMOVE A BUSINESS PARTNER INVOLUNTARILY?

No business can flourish in an atmosphere of constant acrimony and negativity. There may come a time when a business partner’s failure to cooperate becomes so disruptive and damaging to your business that you may need to consider taking legal action to remove that person.

By itself, retaining an attorney to help you can have a profound impact on an uncooperative partner. An experienced central Florida business attorney can explain your legal rights and options and may be able to negotiate a resolution on your behalf quickly and cost-effectively.

You also may be able to file a lawsuit to seek a “judicial dissolution” of your business relationship and remove the uncooperative partner from the company. You may be able to seek compensation for lost business, lost profits, and more with such a lawsuit.

DO YOU ALREADY HAVE A PROCESS FOR REMOVING A PARTNER?

Lawsuits take considerable time and money and are not always the best solution to the problems posed by an uncooperative business partner.

In some cases, you may need to buy out or otherwise compensate an uncooperative business partner when that partner is removed. The wisest move is to discuss all of your options first with an experienced central Florida business attorney.

There may be a process for involuntarily removing partners spelled out in the partnership agreement, operating agreement, or another business document. If no partnership agreement is already in place, you’ll have to rely on the terms of Florida’s Revised Uniform Partnership Act.

If you and your business partners have not spelled out your rights and responsibilities with a written partnership agreement, you will not be in the best position to settle conflicts, and minor disagreements can erupt into major disputes.

 

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSULT A FLORIDA BUSINESS LAWYER?

You need to be prepared to deal – legally – with uncooperative business partners when you’re left with no other option. A reliable Florida business lawyer can help you draft the business documents that put solutions in place before problems emerge.

Of course, you shouldn’t wait for legal trouble before putting an experienced business attorney on your team. A good business lawyer can almost always help a business owner find cost-effective answers and solutions.

If you’re dealing with an egregiously uncooperative business partner – or with any other legal matter affecting your business – get a business attorney’s help at once. That’s the right decision.

 

By: Melody Lankford
After graduating from Davidson College, Melody Lankford earned her J.D. from Florida State University’s College of Law in 2004 and was admitted to the Florida Bar that same year. Ms. Lankford joined Raydon Corporation as in-house counsel in 2004. She worked there until 2012, when she founded the Lankford Law Firm. She is an experienced Daytona Beach small business attorney who offers sound legal counsel and experience-based insights to her business clients.