Managing team conflict
“Conflict is the struggle that arises when the goal-directed behaviour of one person or group blocks the goal-directed behaviour of another person or group.” (Prof Michael West, Occupational Psychologist, CIPD, 2001)
Some key principles
Recognise that you will experience disagreement from time to time and decide beforehand how you will identify, articulate and address it within the team.
Identify what the conflict points to, for example:
Talking at cross purposes
Pressing on a raw nerve
Different understanding of what is required
Lack of clarity over lead ownership
Different ways of approaching the same task
Competing pressures and priorities
Revisit your common mission and values to ensure you don’t violate those things most important to you.
Encourage the conflicting parties to ask of one-another, “What would be a win-win solution for you?”
Encourage each party to present the other party’s position to their satisfaction before presenting their own.
Allow time to cool off, reflect, pray and revisit if disagreement becomes heated or intractable in the ‘now’.
Consider mediation if the conflict is high-impacting and appears unresolvable.