How To Deal With Team Conflict

In any functioning team, conflicts are part of the daily discourse. Conflict isn’t always a bad thing. People will have differing viewpoints from time to time. How those differences are handled is what will determine whether they contribute to the team’s development or its demise.

fighting dogsWhile conflicts are normal in both social and organizational settings, the biggest challenge is always finding the most effective way to handle them. The last thing you want to do is conceal or ignore them. If a conflict is allowed to fester for a while, it can lead to resentment and creation of factions within the team.

In order to resolve conflicts effectively, you must, first of all, understand and appreciate the various viewpoints that exist in your team. This will help you develop a level-headed approach to dealing with conflicts. At the same time, you will be better placed to nip conflicts in the bud before they become destructive and disruptive.

What are the Keys to Dealing with Team Conflicts?

Since it is an established fact that conflicts in a team are unavoidable, it is absolutely critical that you arm yourself with the necessary tools to deal with them when they arise. One thing that most successful leaders have in common is that they embrace conflict resolution as part of their job.

If you think you can just sit back and let a conflict run its course without any intervention, think again. Conflicts rarely resolve themselves. In fact, without proactive and proper measures to deal with them, they will lead to the team’s downfall.

Here are five keys to help you deal with conflicts in your team:

1. Be Clear on Acceptable and Unacceptable Behavior

unhappy couple having conflictThis is a very important step towards minimizing conflict. When every team member knows what is expected of him or her, and what can or cannot be tolerated, it leaves little room for behavior that can aggravate situations. There should also be a clear mechanism for members to voice their opinions.

2. Deal with Conflicts Decisively

As soon as you identify a potential conflict, intervene proactively and decisively in a manner that is fair to everyone involved. This will not only minimize the severity of the conflict, but it will also significantly reduce the chances of the same conflict occurring again. You may also want to spend enough time trying to understand natural tensions. This will help you avoid unnecessary conflicts.

3. Understand Everyone’s Motivations

At the end of the day, conflict resolution should be about helping everyone achieve their goals and driving the team forward. That is why it is so important to be aware of every person’s motivations before you weigh in in a conflict. This helps reduce the number of obstacles that can prevent you from resolving the conflict.

4. Pick your Battles Carefully

One of the biggest mistake people make is allowing mundane issues overshadow the bigger picture. You shouldn’t engage in conflict for the sake of it. First of all, assess the issue to see it is important enough to warrant your intervention. If it is critical enough, open the lines of communication and give everyone involved an opportunity to be heard.

5. See the Conflict as an Opportunity for Growth

Every conflict represents a great learning opportunity. It is up to you to leverage the disagreement into a growth and development opportunity. If you can find the right approach to address divergent opinions, you are likely to find important insights into what makes your team tick and at the same time stimulate innovation.

What are the challenges of dealing with conflicts within a team?

business people having conflictResolving conflicts within a team is not always a straightforward process. There are times when the entire experience will leave you feeling like nothing was achieved. Here are some of the challenges that make conflict resolution difficult:

1. Lack of Objectivity

If perceptions are allowed to overshadow reality, it is very easy to take the wrong approach when resolving a conflict. Past experiences can put a strain on objectivity and cause you to respond to situations inappropriately. Approaching a conflict with the right perspective is vital.

2. Small-mindedness

When you are in the midst of a heated dispute, it’s almost impossible to notice the myriad of options before you. As the conflict escalates, you become even more rigid. As you continue to argue, the dilemma remains there. If you stay stuck in your ways, resolving the conflict will be very difficult.

3. Having a Negative Attitude Towards Conflict

If you are too focused on the unpleasantness of the present moment, you will not be able to appreciate the potential gain that can be derived from the conflict. The conflict can be the beginning of a renewed vision, greater understanding and quicker accomplishment of goals.

4. Mistrust

You don’t want a small portion of the team dominating the entire conversation as others sit and watch. Every person must be allowed an opportunity to express their feelings or offer some ideas on how to deal with the issue at hand.

5. Personal Agendas

If power issues are at the heart if the conflict, they must be addressed amicably. If there are people who don’t fit in the team structure, they should be offered different roles or removed altogether. Once personal agendas are out of the way, it becomes easier for the team to take forward steps.

6. Personality Clashes

Differences in personal styles can cause conflicts within a team. As a leader, you want to provide a solution that all the different personalities within the team can live with. As long as people understand each other, working together to achieve the same objective becomes easier.|

In summary

One of the biggest advantages of being in a team setting is the diversity of available resources. Of course conflicts will arise from time to time and if they are channeled properly, they can lead to positive outcomes. Today, more and more organizations are embracing team building as one of the ways to resolve conflicts and build team spirit within their teams.

’Get Out! Events’ offers some of the best team building activities for all group demographics in Singapore. Our experience working with hundreds of corporate entities makes us highly knowledgeable on the challenges that most teams face.

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