Conflict and honest debate among team members can be helpful because it provides an opportunity for team members to see other perspectives on the issues at hand. However, if team conflict cannot be resolved, it can undermine team goals and harm the working relationship between team members. If you understand strategies for resolving conflicts with your team, your team will accomplish more. There are many things to consider here, but the few that I want to focus on are training, depersonalization, the type, the clarification and the resolution process. Finally, I offer a quick call for follow-up.
We must teach team members and other leaders to identify conflicts when they are present. Some signs of conflict include anger, missed deadlines, incomplete work or incorrect work and increased absenteeism. In addition, teach team members to listen. Acknowledge that there could be team conflicts; point out the positive aspects of conflict and why there must be an effective process to resolve conflict.
Confirm that a conflict exists. Clearly define and state what the conflict is. Do not focus on personalities, or make the issues personal. Allow each party to explain his position on a matter. Encourage each team member to be open-minded and listen to others’ perspectives.
Understand the nature of the conflict. Determine whether the conflict is between certain members of the team or the entire team.
Ask everyone to take a step back from the conflict and revisit team goals and responsibilities. Ensuring that everyone understands the impact of the conflict on the team and helps others see the importance of getting the conflict resolved. Clarify the reason for the anger, and allow everyone to participate in the discussion.
Take an objective approach and do not communicate that you are an advocate for one party in the conflict. Search for the real cause of the conflict and acknowledge emotional issues. Make it clear is that the goal is for everyone to walk away with the conflict resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Ensure everyone agrees on the objectives of the conflict resolution. Clearly identify the alternatives for the decision over which there is conflict. Compare the alternatives to the objectives and invite everyone to assess which alternative is the best solution. Even if there is not total agreement on the outcome, everyone will walk away from the conflict discussion understanding why the issue was resolved in the manner it was.
After the conflict-resolution discussion, monitor the activities of team members to make sure the conflict does not continue to be a problem. If there is a continuing problem, speak individually with those involved or call another group meeting, if necessary.