When you manage a team of people, there’s no guarantee that everyone will always get along. Given the fact that people have different ideas, competing opinions, and personal agendas, conflicts are bound to arise. In many cases, differing perspectives and knowledge can help improve problem solving and performance, but differences can sometimes lead to conflict. When this happens, you will need to know how to handle it. Here are some ways you can identify and resolve conflict within your team.
Oftentimes conflict arises from the smallest of things, such as an inappropriate comment, speaking over someone during a meeting, or someone being left out of an email chain. Many of these situations can be avoided if you are proactive. Try to prevent conflict from arising by being mindful of others’ feelings and paying attention to the way team members are treating each other. If you notice something, act quickly and work to resolve the problem before it escalates.
Clarify the Source of the Conflict
If a conflict should arise, start by figuring out what is causing the problem. Never make assumptions, but rather define the true source of the problem. Discuss the issue with all parties involved and make sure there is a mutual understanding by gaining as much information as possible from each side. Continue asking questions until you are confident you understand the issues completely.
Discuss the Issue Privately
In order to have a constructive conversation, you must first find a neutral and safe space to talk. Avoid common areas or meeting rooms where others might overhear the discussion. Instead, opt for a private space where both parties can freely and openly discuss their feelings.
Practice Active Listening
Give each party a chance to share their concerns and feelings. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to talk and should be encouraged to speak openly and honestly. While doing so, the other parties should be listening without interrupting. This allows both parties to articulate their feelings so you can get to the root of the problem and identify possible solutions.
Develop a Plan to Address the Problem
After clarifying the source of the problem and talking to both parties, you need to sit down with everyone involved and discuss ways in which you can address the problem to reach a common goal. Brainstorm together and encourage each other to be receptive to all ideas until an agreement is reached. Then, share a detailed approach to dealing with the problem, ensuring that both parties understand fully what is expected of them.