Sunday, December 8, 2013

12.1 THE SKILLS YOU NEED TO BE A GREAT BOSS: Resolving Team Conflict

Difficult Management Situations at
Building Stronger Teams by Facing Your Differences
Conflict is pretty much inevitable when you work with others.  People have different viewpoints and under the right set of circumstances, those differences escalate to conflict.  You can choose to ignore it, complain about it, blame someone for it, or try to deal with it through hints and suggestions; or you can be direct, clarify what is going on, and attempt to reach a resolution through common techniques like negotiation or compromise.

Conflict isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Healthy and constructive conflict is a component of high functioning teams.  Conflict arises from differences between people.  Differences make diverse teams more effective.  When people with varying viewpoints, experiences, skills, and opinions are tasked with a project or challenge, the combined effort can far surpass what any group of similar individual could achieve.  Team members must be open to these differences and not let them rise into full-blown disputes.

Understanding and appreciating the various viewpoints involved in conflict are key factors in its resolution.  These are key skills for all team members to develop.  The important thing is to maintain a healthy balance of constructive difference of opinion, and avoid negative conflict that's destructive and disruptive.

When a team oversteps the mark of healthy difference of opinion, resolving conflict requires respect and patience.  The human experience of conflict involves our emotions, perceptions, and actions.
Prepare for Resolution
Acknowledge the conflict
·        putting the team first
·        may involve setting aside your opinion or ideas
·        Active listening is essential
Discuss the impact
Agree to a cooperative process
Agree to communicate
Understand the Situation
Clarify positions
·        Remember that strong emotions are at work
·        understanding of positions
·        remain open, rather than criticize or judge the perceptions and assumptions of other people
·        Everyone needs to feel heard and acknowledged
List facts, assumptions and beliefs underlying each position
Analyze in smaller groups
Convene back as a team
Reach Agreement
Decide decision or course of action
·        Make sure the team is committed
·        acknowledge the contributions everyone made
Agree what needs to be done
Time to celebrate

Some key behaviors to prevent conflict:
·        Deal with conflict immediately
·        Avoid the temptation to ignore
·        Be open
·        Issues need to be expressed immediately
·        Do not allow issues to fester
·        Practice clear communication
·        Articulate thoughts and ideas clearly
·        Practice active listening
·        Practice identifying assumptions
·        Ask ‘why’ on regular basis
·        Do not let conflict get personal
·        Stick to facts and issues, not personalities
·        Focus on actionable solutions
·        Do not belabour what can’t be changed
·        Encourage different points of views
·        Insist on honest dialogue and expressing feelings
·        Do not look for blame
·        Encourage ownership of the problem and solution
·        Demonstrate respect
·        Take a break if the situation escalates and wait for emotion to subside
·        Keep issues within the team
·        Do not talk outside as it allows conflict to build and fester without being dealt with directly

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