Conflict is inevitable with different types of people or several dominant people in a team. Learn how to get your team to accept conflict and resolve conflict.
- Conflict is going to be inevitable with different types of people in a team. A good team is almost doomed in this respect. The person who thinks of ideas is never going to like the one who finds the flaw in plans. And the caring person is never really going to like the pushy one. So, the thing is to realize that it's going to happen. And, not be too phased by it; just try to channel that energy in a constructive direction. For example, if you've got several dominant people in a team, try to give them their own areas of control.
Look out for the slightly less dominant ones switching off because they can't be in charge. And, instead of letting their talents go to waste, find or suggest other roles for them. Most naturally dominant people, can be the boss, but can also do lots of other things once they realize that they aren't going to be the boss. And, actually, maybe that's not the most fun thing to be doing in the team anyway. A small, but ridiculous example of this: when I travel on the subway with a group of people, it will probably be me that plans the route.
But occasionally, there's someone else that says, "No, you don't want to take the Northern Line. "You want to take the Central Line "and cut across from the east." And my reaction is to avoid any conflict and opt out, and say, "Okay then, whatever you think." And then, I just sit there on the train, looking at my watch occasionally, and thinking, "If we'd have taken my route, "we would have been there by now." Now, as a team member, I'm not contributing at all to the mission. In fact, I'm positively hoping that it all goes wrong. Much better, would be to put me in charge of tickets or luggage safety or something, so that I can contribute to some part of the mission that I can feel is my own.
Conflicts between people aren't personal, they're just structural. So, if we can rise above them and see the bigger picture, we can focus on the goal, which is better for everyone. Easy to say, anyway. So, what's your pet conflict? What annoys you, when other people do it? And, how do you usually respond? For example, does it annoy you when people disagree with your suggested plan? Or, when people slow the process down, by asking everyone else if they're happy with the plan? Or maybe it upsets you when someone is too dominant or talks too much.
Could you respond in a more constructive way? Maybe take disagreement with your plan, as a way to improve it. Take the slowing down as actually a good idea, not to rush into things. And, maybe in the case of the dominant person, it could be your role to suggest that the process is improved, and some other people have a say. It's quite likely that the others in the team, are all thinking the same thing, but nobody has said it. And, maybe it's your time to step up to the plate. And, perhaps more difficult, are their people in your team, who you can arbitrate between? And, influence them into contributing more effectively, rather than just fighting with each other.
Maybe you can suggest to Sabrina, that although her plan is great, by incorporating Dave's idea, the plan would be even greater. So, have a think now about which conflicts you personally have when working in a team. And, which conflicts between others you might be able to help with.
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- Identify how to work effectively as a team without management.
- Develop skills for better communication and trust.
- Determine how to handle conflict on a team.
- Assess how to deliver results reliably.