Navigating team conflict: Strategies for effective resolution

Navigating team conflict: Strategies for effective resolution

If there's one thing I've learned about working with other people, it's that conflict is inevitable. So if you're managing a team, make peace with the fact that not every day on the job will be smooth sailing.

But that's OK. We're all different, with our own opinions on how things should be done. It's what makes life interesting and, in a work setting, can even spur innovation. From a management perspective, though, it's how you choose to address conflicts that determines your success as a leader. Read on as I run through effective techniques for identifying, managing and resolving conflicts within your team.

Identifying conflict triggers

If you're going to be effective in resolving conflict, you need to understand conflict triggers. These are the factors that spark a conflict. For example, a worker could be confused about their role within a team or how their performance is measured. Or maybe they feel as though they're being treated unfairly compared to a colleague with the same job. No matter the triggering incident, it can lead to behavioural changes in the employee.

A worker may begin to call out sick more, skip meetings or fail to complete assignments in a timely fashion. These actions can have a snowball effect on the wider team and spark conflicts. You want to be on the lookout for these early signs of team conflict. The sooner you spot them, the faster you can address and resolve them.

Communication in conflict resolution

Good teams communicate clearly, and effective communication is the cornerstone of conflict resolution. Be sure to encourage open and constructive dialogue between team members so that, should conflict arise, workers are better equipped to navigate it and work toward solutions.

Aim to foster a culture of empathy within your team. When employees are trained to acknowledge one another's emotions, easy-to-avoid conflicts may become things of the past. In addition, promote active listening. When people feel heard — and not disrespected — it's easier to dodge conflicts. Finally, team members should be clear when communicating. If a worker feels as though their message will get misinterpreted via email, consider saying it at an in-person meeting or over a video call. Such simple actions can avoid potential misunderstandings.

Just know that as a manager, there may be times when you need to intervene and mediate between two teammates.

Maintaining team harmony

Yes, resolving the conflict is crucial — but the work doesn't stop there. You need to make sure workers leave conflicts trusting and respecting one another. Again, conflicts can and will happen — but the team and their bonds need to stay strong for company success.

Establishing clear expectations for your team is a good way to maintain harmony over a long-term period. As a leader, you can tell your team what type of behaviour you expect in the workplace — and you can lead by example.

In addition, look for opportunities to build bonds between co-workers. Pair two employees together on a project so they're working toward shared goals. Or you could organise team outings that let workers get to know each other outside the office.

Resolve conflicts with help from ICML

Conflict is a natural part of team dynamics, but don't let it get in the way of success. By identifying conflict triggers, employing effective communication strategies and maintaining team harmony, you can navigate conflicts with ease. But if you'd like additional tips, ICML is ready to help. For more in-depth training on conflict management, explore our Conflict Management course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Blog Articles