vince-trombetti-quote-were-learning-how-to-fight-and-were-getting-bettI don’t consider myself to be a particularly confrontational person. I think most people who know me would describe me as reasonably even-tempered. Yet one thing I have learned in my life is that fighting doesn’t have to be a bad thing; it can be a positive or a negative, and a lot of it depends on how you approach it.

I was made keenly aware of this recently when an argument broke out between my five-year-old daughter and myself. There were many directions in which that fight could have gone—yelling, tantrums, tears, or perhaps even a positive outcome. It all boiled down to how I handled her, how I approached the fight; I knew that I couldn’t deal with her in the same way I might deal with a business associate, or even my spouse. I had to individualize my approach to the argument.

More broadly, I will contend that you have to learn how to fight with the important people in your life—not to avoid conflict, necessarily, but to ensure that when there is conflict, it yields genuine connection, and perhaps even a positive outcome.

Think about your business: If you are ambitious—if you really care about it—you’re going to have strong opinions about how things should be handled. It comes with the territory.

And it’s not a bad thing. Fighting shows that you care; you’re in the game; you’re passionate. You want to grow your business and provide better value for your customers. And if associates, partners, or employees argue back with you, well, that shows that they care, too.

If you’re fighting with people about your business, your heart is probably in the right place—but that in itself is not enough. The other half of my equation is to do like I did with my daughter, and think about how best to argue with the person in question. Figure out whether the kid gloves are needed, or whether the straightforward approach works better. With the really important people in your life and in your business, learn how to communicate; how to handle them; how to find common ground.

It’s worth doing because, in many cases, fights are worth having—but whether they yield anything positive depends on your approach.