Nowadays, it’s natural for organizations to work in teams. It’s a proven approach to get people together with different background working in a joint venture. Colleagues have different point of views and under pressure these differences can easily escalate to conflicts. That is to say workplace conflicts are inevitable. However, conflict may be beneficial if they are treated well. Healthy and constructive ones are key components of high-performing teams. Conflicts arise from individual differences which are truly valuable and make diverse teams more effective. Complex projects are usually addressed by cross-functional teams with differing opinion, skill sets, and varying viewpoints. So it is essential to welcome differences rather than eradicate them.
Sources of conflicts
The most common sources of workplace conflict are as follows:
- Limited resources
- Unclear roles and responsibilities
- Disagreement over strategy or execution*
- Unsatisfying feedback mechanisms*
- Blame culture
- Conflict of interest
- Poor communication and misunderstandings*
* CX-Ray for Teams has solutions for 3 of the topics listed above.
Conflict management strategies
Conflict management strategies have to be practiced in every collaborative team. Conflicts can work in the team’s favour or result in its demise. It matters how you handle them. Team collaboration is primary focus of Agile, Scrum Masters and team members are working hard to turn conflicts into constructive disagreement which moves the team forward. The goals of successful interventions is to find a solution that all involved member can agree with; to figure out this particular solution as soon as possible; to nurture the relationship between groups.
Stages of conflict resolution:
1) Acknowledge the conflict
The conflict has to be acknowledged first. Handling conflicts is not as easy as holding healthy debates. So you have to put more effort into solving them. Address the issue face-to-face.
2) Clarify positions
Get to know all the unique views within the team. Each position should be articulated.
3) Communicate with the opposition
Be an active listener. Always be precise and speak about yourself instead of others. Be flexible and avoid early judgments.
4) Brainstorm possible solutions
Set the goals, write a clear purpose statement. Come up with as many ideas as you can. Try looking for win-win situations or compromises, where each parties get something they want.
5) Choose the best plan of solutions
It ideally relies on each group’s resources and skills, so they are going to work for it with devotion. In this stage you may look for the help of a mediator, whom all involved members trust to be fair.
Benefits of constructive conflicts
- Conflict results in a solution
- Team members benefit and grow personally
- Team becomes more cohesive, affected members are more involved in working together
However, you can benefit from conflicts when you treat them well, you cannot spend all your time with conflict management. With open and honest communication conflicts can be avoided. Practice clear communication and focus on actionable solutions. When a conflict arises deal with it immediately and resist the temptation to ignore it. Never let things getting personal and don’t look for someone to blame. By demonstrating respect and encouraging different point of views the team members will be more involved to find a solution for the problem.
Fortunately network science has made it possible for now to check the inner working of your team and resolve potential conflicts. CX-Ray Solution dedicated for teams between 6 and 60 team members reveals the hidden conflicts within your team and guide you how to turn them to your favour. Check your inner workings and resolve potential conflict sources.
Thanks to CX-Ray Solution one of our customers could recognise and solve the following conflict. They hired a new guy for an existing position to relieve an old colleague of dealing with the everydays tasks alone. However – according to the results – it turned out that the old member monopolized his expertise and knowledge, because he was afraid of losing his job. So his burden remained the same and the new colleague couldn’t properly fulfil his position. Once the CEO recognized and identified the situation undermining effective teamwork, the issue was properly addressed within the team.