There is not a team in the world, whether in a sporting environment or a business one, that has not experienced conflict at different times. Also, conflict can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you can see it coming down the line, and others it just blows up out of nowhere.
However, if you are leading a team of any size or at any level in the organization, it is as certain as death and taxes that you will have to deal with conflict issues in your team.
Is conflict a bad thing?
No, not at all – as long as it is managed properly. Conflict is natural when you pit together a group of people to achieve a common goal. It is not to be feared. I have seen more good come out of conflict issues. Bad outcomes are as a result of not dealing with them properly – and that is a management issue, not a conflict one.
So how do you deal with conflicts issues in your team?
You start off by recognizing them as a fact of life and not a sign of weakness in your team or your management skills. However, the quality of the results are in direct proportion to how you deal with them.
So, my 5 tips for dealing with conflict are as follows:
1. Stay in control.
Stay in control of yourself and your emotions – a cool head is needed. Don’t dive in at the first sign of conflict, and never when your emotions are high
2. Go to the source.
Do not beat about the bush – know where the source of the conflict exists and address your energies there, not elsewhere.
Be seen as decisive and action oriented
3. Actively listen.
Be prepared to actively listen, not pay lip service to listening!
This can be hardest of all if the source is a frequent offender in this space when it is easy to have an opinion formed in advance of hearing the story.
But, really listen to what is being said.
4. Deal with it early
This is absolutely critical. Failure to deal with it early will cause the issue to fester and grow.
It also reflects badly on you as a manager, and you are perceived either as weak or indecisive – not qualities you want to have a reputation for.
5. Set team rules for behavior
If you don’t have agreed team rules, then go about setting them.
I have done this with a huge number of teams and it is one of the most transformational things you can do.
It sets rules – agreed and written by all – on how this team will behave in order to deliver top performance
So, what have you done to deal with conflict issues in your team? What worked and what didn’t?
If you want to discuss a current conflict privately, then fill in your name and email address in the box to the right, and a note requesting a chat and we will set that up.