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Managing conflict within teams

Author: Keltram Group | Date Published: 21 May 2013 09h30 | Article Release


Build stronger teams by facing your differences.

Conflict is inevitable when you work with others. People have varied opinions which could lead to conflict under certain circumstances. We deal with conflict every day, whether it be with our family, friends or at the workplace. It is almost impossible to prevent conflict; therefore the best strategy is to learn how to deal with conflict when it arises.

Sources of Group Conflict

  • Values of team members
  • Attitudes of team members
  • Goals/Expectations - the processes and expected outcomes
  • Roles and responsibilities of team members
  • Limited resources
  • Personalities
  • Interdependency
  • Increased interaction

Resolving conflict requires creativity, openness discipline and respect for everybody involved. The process below assists with managing conflict in the workspace.

Step 1 – Prepare for Resolution

Your team has to acknowledge the conflict in order to begin the process of resolution. Often team members are ignorant of conflict in order to avoid it, resulting in uncontrollable situations. If you are concerned about the conflict in your team, discuss it with other members to ensure a solution as soon as possible.

Step 2 – Understand the Situation

This step involves understanding each team member’s point of view. Take time to make sure that each person has been heard and understood during this process. This helps the team see facts moreobjectively and with less emotion involved. It also provides clarity on exactly what the problem is, making it simpler to rectify.

Breaking the team into smaller groups assists with getting the sound content from each individual, and breaks any alliances that may have formed. Facts can be listed stating employee’s beliefs andassumptions. It is important to note what each member believes and values as well as what helped them develop the opinion that they currently have.

Step 3 – Reach Agreement

The team can now decide a course of action to take, with each employee having had their opinion voiced, and listened to the employees’ views. Each member can now express their adapted thoughtsbased on what they have heard from the rest of the team. All points must be recorded for future reference. Doing so can help future disputes and documents employees who frequently find themselves in situations of conflict.

Preventing Conflict

Prevent conflict from arising and becoming damaging to your business and its goals:

  • Deal with conflict immediately
  • Be open
  • Practice active listening
  • Practice clear communication
  • Practice identifying assumptions
  • Do not let conflict get personal
  • Encourage different points of view
  • Demonstrate respect
  • Keep team issues within the team

Overall, conflict is a natural part of the workplace. It can be constructive; however, it needs to be dealt with quickly and directly before it becomes a concern. What makes the difference is having team membersand a team leader that understands and manages conflict effectively.

Contact us for more information on team building.

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