What is team conflict?
Conflict within a team can be defined as any disagreement or disagreement between team members that have the potential to affect performance negatively. Team conflicts typically arise when team members have different goals, values, or ideas about how they should do something. While some level of conflict is inevitable in any team, resolving conflict effectively minimizes its negative impact on high performance.
I am sure we have all faced workplace conflict and what’s important is – how we manage them. Clashes take place in all environments, be they personal or professional. Here we will investigate how we can resolve conflicts professionally when working in teams.
Conflicts are not always threats
Many of us tend to perceive conflicts as threats. The most crucial fact that we must understand is that disputes will occur, and we need to normalize them. It is OK to have conflicts. Some level of effort is required to address conflicts in the best way possible without worsening the situation.
Another big question is, “Who resolves the team conflict?” Is a specific team member who serves as a mediator and assists in its resolution? The answer is that no single person is solely responsible for resolving team conflict. The entire team should collaboratively come together to help manage conflict.
The scrum master, however, plays a crucial role in an agile team by coaching and mentoring the teams and employing simple conflict resolution skills & techniques. They are the scrum processes’ guardians and ensure the team adheres to them. If the teams can identify the conflict’s origin, they usually try to resolve it amongst themselves; however, if they fail to settle under the supervision of the Scrum Master if the conflict intensifies and becomes an impediment for the team.
The impact of team conflict on team performance
Team conflicts can negatively impact team performance, including decreased productivity, decreased team morale, and increased team turnover. Additionally, team conflict can lead to communication problems and a lack of interpersonal conflict resolution within the team. While some level of conflict is inevitable in any team, managing conflict effectively to minimize its negative impact is essential.
There are several things that team members can do to improve performance. One of the most important things is to develop effective conflict management strategies. These can help team members resolve conflict more effectively, which can, in turn, help improve team collaboration. Additionally, developing practical conflict management skills can also help team members to avoid some of the negative impacts of team conflict, such as decreased productivity and decreased team morale.
Developing practical conflict management skills
Team members can use several effective conflict management strategies to reduce the negative impact of team conflict on performance.
Some effective conflict management strategies include:
Encouraging open communication
Effective communication is essential for managing team conflict effectively. Team members should feel comfortable communicating with each other about their differences and should be encouraged to do so respectfully and constructively.
Establishing team ground rules
Ground rules can help team members in resolving team conflict by providing guidelines for how to disagree with each other and work through differences respectfully. Ground rules should be established at the beginning of a team project and revisited as needed to manage future conflict.
Practicing active listening
Without interrupting or passing judgment, active listening entails paying attention to what the other person is saying. It also means trying to understand their perspective and their own feelings and responding in a way that shows you have heard and empathized with them. Active listening takes practice which comes often with experience such as taking nonverbal cues, but listening skills can be a helpful tool for managing conflict within a team.
- Mutual respect: Showing a positive attitude and respect for each other’s opinions and ideas, even if you disagree.
- Flexibility: Being willing to compromise and find solutions that work for everyone involved.
Emotional intelligence is a crucial skill
When it comes to managing conflict within a team, emotional intelligence is a crucial skill. Individuals with high emotional intelligence can effectively manage their own emotions, as well as understand and respond to the feelings of others. This can be extremely helpful in diffusing tense situations and resolving conflict.
There are a few specific strategies that those with high emotional intelligence typically use when managing conflict. First, they can see both sides of the issue and understand all points of view. They are also good at active listening, which involves hearing what the other person is saying and trying to understand their perspective. Finally, they can compromise and find solutions that satisfy everyone involved.
Identifying areas of agreement
When team members focus on areas where they agree, they are more likely to find creative solutions to their differences and avoid workplace and relationship conflicts within the team.
One of the necessities for effective conflict management is problem-solving. Problem-solving involves finding a way to address the underlying issues causing the conflict. It may require creative thinking and outside-the-box solutions. Once the root cause of the conflict is identified, it can be much easier to find a resolution that everyone can agree on.
Brainstorming can be a helpful way for team members to generate creative solutions to their differences. When team members brainstorm together, they can build on each other’s ideas and come up with solutions they may not have thought of on their own.
Using these effective conflict management strategies, team members can reduce the negative impact of team conflict on performance and improve overall team functioning.
Body language for effective communication
Body language and facial expressions are the nonverbal communication cues to convey feelings and emotions and resolve conflict. When team members conflict, body language can defuse the situation and help the team come to a resolution.
Some of the best solutions for using body language to manage conflict include:
- Make eye contact: Eye contact is a powerful way to show that you are engaged in the conversation and interested in what the other person says.
- Avoid crossing your arms: Crossing your arms can be seen as a defensive gesture and may make the other person feel like you are not open to hearing their perspective.
- Lean in: Leaning in shows that you are invested in the conversation and want to hear what the other person says.
– Use open body language: Open body language, such as keeping your arms uncrossed and facing the other person, conveys that you are approachable and receptive to hearing their viewpoints.
Using body language effectively can help team members pick up to resolve conflict and improve team performance. Attention to body language cues can help you better understand the other person’s perspective and find common ground. When conflict arises, take a step back and assess the situation before responding. By using body language to manage conflict, you can improve communication and constructively resolve disagreements.
Conflict management templates
Conflict management templates can be a valuable tool for team leaders and members in resolving disagreements. By having a set structure in place, team members can more effectively communicate with each other and come to a resolution. Templates can also help prevent conflict by establishing ground rules for how team members should interact with each other. While conflict is inevitable, using templates can help reduce its negative impact on team performance.
Ability to make decisions
When there is conflict within a team, decisions need to be made to resolve the issue. Individuals need to be able to make decisions quickly and efficiently to avoid further conflict.
Ability to create a positive work environment
A positive work environment is essential for team performance. Individuals need to create an environment where team members feel valued and respected.
Ability to integrate different perspectives
When there is conflict within a team, it is often due to different perspectives. Individuals need to be able to see both sides of the issue and integrate diverse perspectives to find a resolution.
Personal coaching for conflict management in the team setting
Let’s look at how team conflict can be resolved.
Personal coaching is one of the best ways to resolve team conflicts. The Scrum Master plays a vital role as a relationship conflict resolution agent. They pay attention to the root cause and listen carefully to the challenge. The Scrum Master needs to have a good relationship with the team members to guide them through any impediments. The teams should also get along well with one another at the same time.
One-on-one coaching discussions with the team members aid in understanding their issues and difficulties. The teams should be given time to try to tackle the problem on their own and come up with a solution. But the Scrum master intervenes when a team quarrel becomes unresolvable and negatively affects the team’s production.. But when there is a situation where the team conflict is not going anywhere and impacting the team’s productivity, the Scrum master steps in.
Here are four steps to help manage conflict and mentor the teams.
Before taking any action, one must first comprehend the conflict’s underlying causes. Acting on the disagreement without knowing its underlying causes can make things worse and make the issue worse. The Scrum Master assembles the team to identify the core cause in an assertive manner.
When acquiring information in this situation, listening is crucial. Don’t pass judgement on the people or circumstances at hand. Recognize the difficulties from everyone’s point of view. Always respect others’ opinions and foster a welcoming atmosphere where everyone feels heard and valued. The scrum master must assist the team in realising that a conflict affects more than just the parties directly involved and the rest of the team.
Brainstorming to find the solution
In certain instances, the scrum master might not be able to resolve the issue.
You can assist the group in brainstorming other alternatives. It can happen by directing the conversation using various facilitation tools and techniques. Strong inquiries, constructive dialogues, and hands-on brainstorming exercises can all help you hear the teammates’ quieter voices.
Deciding on the solution
After the team has contributed their many thoughts and suggestions, please compile a list of them that is accessible to all.
Ask the group which one they would like to implement after discussing those. Encourage the teams to communicate and establish trust so they may freely share and express themselves so that everyone feels involved in the decision making process.
Tips for managing team conflict effectively
Some tips for developing effective conflict management include:
- Learning to identify the early signs of team conflict
- Developing good communication skills
- Learning how to compromise
- Learning how to mediate disagreements
- Being willing to seek outside help when necessary
By following these tips, team members can learn how to manage conflict effectively and improve performance.
When a team or task conflict arises, it is essential to take action immediately to prevent the situation from escalating. Using the tips and strategies described above, team members can learn how to manage team conflict and improve performance effectively.
A deeper understanding between the team members is one of the advantages of resolving any conflict situation. As they proceed, they gain new knowledge and develop their ability to adapt and cooperate more effectively. Team members become more trustworthy of one another, which enhances coordination. Teams develop self-awareness, respect for each person’s functioning, and an ability to adapt to more modern working practices. In the end, it boosts team happiness and productivity.
If you would like to learn more about managing conflict within your team, contact Leadership Tribe and we are happy to get on call with you and discuss the best way to join our high performing Coaching Practice & Team Building sessions.