Executive Education

How to efficiently manage the Co-Founder Power Struggles

A power struggle is quite common in all workplaces. It can be departmental, between seniors and subordinates, or between the partners or founders.

Power struggle comes along with loud yelling and crying and sometimes with a threat too. This power battle sometimes also becomes personal, leading to the conflict in own lives as well, along with the professional life. The damage it creates in a relationship goes on for long causing bitterness.

The people hardly realise that instead of grabbing the power with force, it is always better to request politely, to the person who has the potential, to get your thing done. And, in the cases when you and your work partner have equal power, the conflict is even more.

Co-founder power struggle

A power struggle can arise anywhere and in any environment – at home with your spouse and children or with your colleagues at your workplace.

One of the most common power struggles that affect dearly is the one amongst Co-founders. In that scenario, the power struggle can range from taking the big strategic and monetary decisions of the company to making small decisions like choosing the furniture or other infrastructural requirements for the company. Now, if you let the power struggle over you and your co-founder, not only the two of you will suffer but your business will also go for a toss.

Hence, it becomes essential for you to get rid of every bit of negativity around and learn the ways to manage the power struggle.

Some of the ideas are mentioned below to help the upcoming and wannabe entrepreneurs in the critical situation.

Choosing the partner

When you conceive a business plan, and you are looking for a suitable and learned partner, always go for someone who has an almost same set of ideologies, vision, and thinking like yours. Syncing personalities often get more, and you tend to have lesser instances of power struggles. Though, a few meetings can never decide whether you both will always be in sync with each other, as when it will come to business even the slightest hint may create a big difference.

It is good to be preventive than reactive. For example, a person may be your best friend and childhood buddy and both of you two do claim to know each other in and out but it is not necessary that you always agree on all the decisions and have the same bent of mind. You need to analyse before getting into a venture with your partner carefully.

Have defined roles

One of the most common mistakes the co-founders do is that they wish to take every smallest decision in partnership. This later becomes detrimental to their business. Because they are two different people, it is pretty obvious for them to have completely different opinions. Now due to this, many situations end up in a deadlock, as to whose decision should prevail! This finally creates an ego clash.

To avoid anything of this sort, it is essential to know which part comes under your expertise that you can deal with and efficiently decide and which doesn’t.

Decide and if you think it is required, have it in writing that who will be responsible for what part of the business. You can also decide on your strengths and interests. For example, if you think that you have better interpersonal skills, you may handle the alliances and the employee workforce, and if your partner finds his strength in numbers and accounts, he can take care of the accounts department. This will make both of you have clear and defined KRA’s, and both of you will be allowed to exercise power in your respective areas. This will also make both of you accountable to each other.

Be flexible

Being flexible would mean that you are open to changes, your co-founder has suggested. Always lend an ear and try to understand what your partner is explaining to you. CEO or Cofounder may suggest embracing new technology or a better way to get the work done. Sometimes due to the ego or rigidness, we do not accept changes and let the business continue on the traditional lines. So, always understand the rationale of your partner and then take a final decision. This way you both will be able to make better decisions for your organisation.

Stay far from Ego

Ego is one thing that may ruin it all. “Only me”, is a common personality trait found in many. For such people, having a business partner is a bad idea. If you feel that you slightly or majorly belong to the “just me” category, you need to bring change in yourself and check your ego before moving ahead with the partnership business. A start-up can never work with egoist maniacs. The industry has witnessed several cases where a fabulous doing start-up was later found crashing only because of the egoist maniacs. Whenever you see yourself frustrated, just relax and make sure not to instil a power struggle. Better focus on the business thinking that business should not suffer just because of your motives to climb the success ladder faster.

Go slow

In excitement, most of the start-ups suffer. The co-founders often take quick decisions without much deliberation which leads to the failure later. And then begins the blame game between the partners. In a start-up, it is vital to go slow as the co-founders do not have much experience. The time should be spent in knowing and understanding each other and making the basics of the business strong rather than rushing to the new technology or taking other bold decisions in a hurry.

Reach out to the third party

At times, you can only not avoid a deadlock. Even after having clear-cut domains and good understanding, it is not common for a situation to end at a standstill. Under such scenario, listen to the third party. A trusted advisor to a familiar friend or someone from the family is a good help. The advisor will undoubtedly come up with an impartial decision or solution after listening to both the party and the picture will be much more transparent.

These simple ways of showing flexibility, defining roles and staying away from ego will help you and your co-founder to gel in well and establish a long-term partnership which will benefit the business and ensures individual’s professional growth as well.

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Ashish Parmar
Ashish Parmar is CEO of Prismetric, a top-rated Mobile App Development Company, adds to perspectives about mobile app development, Start-ups, Business Development and Leadership. An entrepreneur by heart, I love to discuss the latest tech especially if it is mobile technology.