When dealing with unique personalities, genders, backgrounds, etc. there is bound to be conflict in a team. The matter is that most individuals do not like to take care of conflict, but it can really be helpful. Conflict arises when there are conflicting viewpoints or actions between the team members. It may be something as straightforward as a disagreement on a minor change in a process to friction over a major initiative that someone wants to implement.
Regardless of the problem, the best way to deal with conflict is for team members to talk about the issues openly and fairly. Instead many individuals want to avoid these essential conversations at any cost, or directives have been put in place at the corporate level that can not be shared with everybody. Keeping lines of communication open at all levels reduces friction, gossip, and rumors. To do it properly, the messaging must be not only accurate, but consistent in its content and presentation. Too often, communications are obscure and misleading which potentially makes the battle even larger than when it started out.
The other issue is that certain companies have cultures where battle gets”brushed under the carpet.” This can also result in incorrect speculations and possibly fear within the group. Leaders will need to comprehend each team member’s view on an issue and get his or her feedback. They may be perceiving the battle completely different then what is actually happening, or they are possibly interjecting their past to the situation.
The best way to start resolving a conflict is to make sure everyone understands the root cause of the disagreement. There may have to be several talks about this to eventually get to the real issue. The team then has to understand that everyone might not have the exact same opinion on the best way best to deal with the conflict, but it needs to be agreed upon that each person has an opportunity to voice his or her opinion and be respected.
It likely won’t be a 50-50 win, but the team members should feel that they were part of this process, and they are prepared to forgo some things for the better of the team in order to make a more cohesive work environment. If all else fails, bringing in a third party, i.e. individual resources or consultant, may help for larger conflict resolution.