How To Manage Team Conflict Successfully

When you manage a team of people, you can’t always ensure that they will work smoothly. Each person has different opinions and, under a set of circumstances, those differences may escalate to a conflict.

What’s your role as a leader in this situation? Should you try to resolve the conflict or let the team solve the problem? As a leader, how you handle that conflict determines whether it works to the team’s advantage, or contributes to its demise. Conflicts can quickly impact the entire team’s motivation and productivity.

Resolving team conflict is possible. Conflict is not a bad thing. Healthy and constructive conflict is a component of high-functioning teams. Conflict promotes an awareness that problems exist in the team. Discussing conflicting views can lead to better solutions and better bonds between the team members.

You can use the below three-stage process to manage conflict between employees:

Step 01 – Acknowledge

The primary step is to accept the conflict situation, agree to communicate, and solve the situation.

  • Accept that conflict exists – Acknowledge the conflict situation is a must. Team members should know that there is a conflict situation. Do not avoid the conflict or pretend nothing has happened. Conflict will get worse and tension will build as time goes on.
  • Examine the impacts – The team should know the impacts of the conflict in terms of team performance, team strategies, and motivation. Everyone should know that their disagreement is harmful to them and the organization.
  • Agree to solve – Team members should agree to solve the conflict. Team mindset to be aligned to corporate to have a resolution. Everyone should ready to discuss their concerns openly with each other.

Step 02 – Understand

Once the team is ready to resolve the conflict, the second stage is to understand the viewpoint of each team member and discuss the triggers of the conflict.

  • Clarify conflict viewpoints – Set up a less interrupted time and place to discuss for an extended span on different viewpoints. Each person should have sufficient time to say what he or she believes the other party needs to hear. Don’t let someone monopolize the topic. Each and everyone should express the disagreements, their viewpoints, and their opinions.
  • Analyze the situation – Break the conflict into smaller components and identify the trigger points of the conflict. Try to understand the different viewpoints and the rationale for each viewpoint. What does each person believe? What is the basis for their viewpoints?

Step 03 – Resolve

Now all the persons have expressed their opinions, viewpoints believe, and rationale behind those.

  • Evaluate resolution options – There could be multiple ways to resolve the conflict. Facilitation should be provided for the team to discuss each option. Each person should have sufficient time to express their concerns regarding each option. It is best if team members can agree on a resolution to meet their interests and respecting other’s interests.
  • Speak with the individual – You might need to speak with each colleague separately about the concerns they have related to each option. You can coach them to agree on a conclusion by letting them know the best interest and priorities of your organization.
  • Guide to reach an agreement – You may need to play the mediator role and push the team to agree on an outcome that is in the best interests of the organization. You may be able to coach them into making such proposals by summarizing their interests and priorities. Be sure to explain your reasoning and make clear that this is for the best interest of the company and not yours’s as an individual. You may have to negotiate with your team members to agree on a resolution. Don’t take sides, realize you are there simply to help your employees work out their problems. Always take the decision which best suits the organization.

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This three-step process can help you to solve team conflict efficiently and effectively. The basis of the approach is gaining an understanding of the approach to conflict resolution. You can use this understanding to expand your thoughts and resolve the conflicts in your team.

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