Teams and Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict in the Workplace

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How Conflict Can Derail A Team


Conflict in the workplace is going to happen, but will it grow your team or will it hurt and divide your team? Will it encourage your team to find better and more creative solutions to problems or will it slow your team down and result in a mediocre performance at best.

It is a fact that teams can spend unnecessary amounts of time dealing ineffectively with conflict because of an absence of good conflict resolution skills.

Unresolved team conflict can also have a negative affect on productivity, good decision making, and team member retention. MILLIONS OF DOLLARS have been spent on dealing with conflict in all sizes and kinds of organizations.

Much team conflict involves disagreements over task-related matters, with team members bringing diverse perspectives, information, and expertise to bear on an issue which they cannot resolve.

Too often, CONFLICT IS SUPPRESSED, minimized or ignored, but it does not go away and can result in deadlock and inaction.

Some team members will have different priorities to others; they may put a higher value on one aspect of their team's purpose than another.

Differing responsibilities and workloads can also create both resentment and conflict. Even team members sources of information can cause conflict.

Differences and misunderstandings may also exist because of the different temperaments and personality types of the team members.

Each team member's history and experiences to do with conflict can also affect how they may respond to differences on a team. Negative experiences in the past may affect their freedom to be honest with their opinions in the present, or skew their responses, reactions and perceptions of one another.

Team conflict in the workplace is inevitable!

However when there is an ABSENCE OF GOOD CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS, conflict in the workplace will either escalate or it will be pushed back under the surface to smolder until more fuel is added and it explodes. As frustration and resentment grows, relationships may become irretrievably damaged so that team cohesiveness is lost, along with the ability to make good decisions.

WHEN CONFLICT IS BROUGHT OUT INTO THE OPEN and resolved well, the GAINS in MOTIVATION and PRODUCTIVITY will far outweigh the cost of any good team building program or coaching resource.

The Team Leader must be able to both recognize symptoms of conflict and have the skills to facilitate its resolution.

Unhealthy or divisive responses to differences on a team may look like:

  • Members becoming irritated or judgemental towards other team members whose personality type they do not understand.
  • Ideas being attacked or interrupted before they are completely expressed.
  • Members taking sides and refusing to collaborate or compromise.
  • Members powering up on one another.
  • Members talking negatively about one another to one another.
  • Aggressive or insulting words or actions.
  • Members disagreeing with the leader's suggestions and talking behind his back.
  • One or more members seldom expressing their ideas or opinions for fear of rocking the boat.
  • A team leader ignoring tension on a team, because of having insufficient skills to deal with any of the above.

If you are a team leader, ask yourself the following two questions about conflict in the workplace!

  1. What is falling through the cracks or being put on hold because of conflicts and tension on my team?
  2. Is conflict shutting down one or more of my teammates, and as a result, what information are we missing out on that could be critical to making an important decision?

The following resource will help you find solutions and dramatically improve your team.

If you'd like more information about our E-Guide Click Here

This E-Book, From Conflict to Collaboration, will help you resolve any present conflict, reduce potential tension and conflict, and build unity on your team!

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