How to deal with Team Conflict
The Value of Conflict while you’re busy on How to deal with Team Conflict.
When people work together, there are times when they disagree. Some degree of conflict should be expected within any group of people working towards a common purpose. How a team manages its conflict can uiltimately help (or hurt) the team and the team’s performance.
Overcoming common problems in teams
When a team is experiencing problems such as competing loyalties or failing to meet performance expectations, each team member is responsible for trying to ensure that the group gets along. Some problems, however, require a more structured approach.
The following outlines typical team problems.
The team is either unclear about its tasks or overwhelmed by them. This usually occurs in the Forming stage of team development. Planning is essential to minimize floundering.
A team member who talks a lot, consuming the team’s time. They may not have specific expertise, but tend to tell long stories or give unnecessary detail.
A team member who rarely speaks and if asked about their silence, may say, “I’m listening, when I have something to say, I’ll say it.” Group performance can suffer when a silent participant does not speak up when it would be beneficial. Some people, based on their individual preferences have different comfort levels speaking in a group (eg extroverts versus introverts)
Digression and tangents
One team member describes a past situation relevant to the problem at hand. This triggers the memory of other team members, who begin describing similar situations at length. When the meeting is over, team members wonder where the time went because little was accomplished.
Rush to accomplishment
“Doing something is better than doing nothing.” This belief may cause team members to be impatient or rush through a project in order to reach a conclusion, when haste is inappropriate for the situation.
One team member fails to give credit to another’s ideas or ignore another person’s contribution. A team member may begin to ridicule other team member’s ideas or behavior. This can cause hostility and hurt feelings leading to unnecessary conflict.
Acceptance of opinion as fact
A team member makes statements with such confidence that other team members are reluctant to question the validity of the statement, even when it is clearly an opinion rather than factual data.
Feuding team members
You may need to act as a mediator when this occurs. Unresolved conflict, over time, will reduce the team’s overall performance.