My Team is in Conflict - What do I Do?
Assess the Effectiveness of Conflict Resolution in your Team
What is Conflict?
Conflict is a natural and unavoidable part of human affairs, especially in teams that seek to grow and develop. The members on a team have different personalities that will affect their relationships with each other. Other factors that may lead to conflict include scarce resources, different professional approaches, and organisational change.
Conflict is often seen as negative, yet it can lead to great change and improvement.
Why is Managing Conflict Important?
Besides wasted time, unresolved conflict costs businesses in a number of ways including:
- Bad Decisions
- Lost Employees
- Unnecessary Restructuring Costs
- Sabotage, Theft, Damage
- Lowered Employee Motivation
- Lost Work Time
- Health and Safety Costs
The Sloan Business School discovered that 42% of an employee's total workday is spent engaging in or attempting to avoid or negotiate a resolution to a conflict.
How can I Manage Conflict in my Team?
Effective teams are able to select the most appropriate conflict-handling style for the situation. Successful resolution of conflict requires the ability to communicate effectively, as well as to confront issues - not people - focusing on the search for win-win solutions. They manage conflict to avoid the stagnation or apathy that arises from repressed conflict as well as the threat of chaos from unmanaged conflict.
Identify Conflict Resolution Styles
Each individual has a personal way of handling conflict. An important aspect of managing conflict in teamwork is self-awareness regarding each member’s way of handling differences between themselves and others. These styles need to be identified and recognized in how they shape the team’s work. Instruments are available to help identify personal style in conflict situations.
Learn which mode is your primary and when to use it for best results. Discover how to use your less preferred modes for conflict resolution. Test each person in your group to learn how you can all get along better.
What do I do when Conflict Occurs?
- Welcome the existence of the conflict, bring it into the open, and use it as potential for change.
- Separate the person from the problem in an effort to diffuse the emotional component of the conflict by showing respect, listening carefully, and giving all parties an opportunity to express views.
- Clarify the nature of the problem as seen by both parties. Is this the real problem?
- Deal with one problem at a time, beginning with the easier issues.
- Listen with understanding (interest) rather than evaluation. Use the communication skills of listening, reflecting, and clarifying.
- Attack data, facts, assumptions, and conclusions but not individuals (e.g., “I disagree with your assumptions”).
- Brainstorm about possible solutions.
- Use objective criteria when possible.
- Invent new solutions where both parties gain.
- Implement the plan.
- Evaluate and review the problem-solving process after implementing the plan.
- Identify areas of agreement. Focus on common interests not positions.
How can I Support my Team to Manage Conflict Effectively?
Provide opportunities for your team members to learn which conflict mode is their primary style and when to use it for best results, and to discover how to use their less preferred modes for conflict resolution.
At regular intervals, build in the following processes into your team meetings:
- Review decisions, including review and definition of goals, the direction of the team, and priorities.
- Value and recognise the strengths and differences that each member brings.
- Clarify roles by discussing topics and knowledge base, professional stereotypes, specialisations, autonomy, competencies, responsibilities, and expectations.
- Examine overlapping roles and renegotiate role assignments.
- Assess the effectiveness of group norms or ground rules.
- Recognise professional hierarchies and discuss their impact on team functioning (status and delegation of authority issues are a part of this activity).
Get in Touch with Jump
If you need help, or you answered no or unsure to any of the questions in the assessment tool, then Jump Business Solutions can help you. Phone us on +64 6 754 8987 or +64 27 450 5271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and Jump will come to you, discover your needs, and develop a solution that will create real, long-term and positive change for you and your business.
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