The Conflict Within

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A manager has the responsibility to make sure that the conflict resolution process—whichever approach is followed—is executed impartially and with respect for all the parties involved. Finally, experts agree that it is better to address conflict sooner rather than later to prevent escalation that would affect team performance.

The five approaches are described in the following text. Rarely, but occasionally, the best approach to conflict is to ignore it. When the reason for the conflict is trivial as when someone was inadvertently left off an e-mail or when waiting for more information would help resolve the conflict, the avoidance approach is appropriate.

The manager may also want to avoid the conflict if she wants team members to handle it informally, on their own—and if the conflict does not significantly interfere with team performance. Consider the case of a well-liked foreman in the inventory department of a major retailing firm with fewer than three months until his retirement. He had been leaving early and generally not meeting his responsibilities. His direct reports made excuses and covered for him.

The manager felt conflicted because the foreman was setting a bad example, but she decided that team morale would suffer if the foreman were disciplined. It may also be the only effective approach for unpopular decisions or when individual team members are personally affected. Again, imagine that a popular and senior team member has been making disparaging and offensive remarks about another individual on the team.

The target is not the type to complain, but you have heard that he is unhappy and thinking about leaving the team.

The Conflict Within

You may be tempted to get them together to hash out the problems, but a better approach might be to tell the senior team member that his behavior is affecting team performance, that you are relying on him to behave more professionally, and that you will be monitoring the situation. The example at the beginning of this section referred to a software engineer who favored a certain software program to track a project for its user interface and customization capabilities. The project manager wanted to use a different program because it produced more detailed reports.

Accommodating a team member may be an effective strategy for resolving conflict when you agree that the team member is, in fact, right. The collaborative approach is also known as the win-win approach. It is mostly used in high-stakes conflicts when getting a resolution is too important for the issues not to be carefully examined.

It requires a great deal of skill to use the collaborative approach successfully. Negotiation and mediation are types of collaboration, usually in formal situations such as labor negotiations or creating employment contracts for senior level management.

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Negotiation and mediation are most effective when both parties have something to gain and something to lose, and when there is great amount of interdependence. Skip to main content. Module 8: Groups, Teams, and Teamwork. Search for:. Conflict Within Teams Learning Outcomes Describe common types and causes of conflict that arise within teams. If all of your efforts fail to produce a settlement, you may need to shed your mediator role and, as the boss, impose an outcome that is in the best interests of the organization.

Given competing interests, needs, and agendas, you might even have two people who vehemently disagree.

Resolve Conflicts In The Workplace With These 12 Techniques - The Digital Project Manager

Should you get involved or leave them to solve their own problems? Why rely on mediation and not your authority? If you dictate what they should do, they will have learned nothing about resolving conflict themselves. Rather, they will have become more dependent on you to figure out their disputes for them.

What if your colleagues expect you to step in as the boss?

Building Stronger Teams by Facing Your Differences

Your first move is to recognize your authority, but explain the mediation process you have in mind. You might tell your colleagues that although you have the authority to impose an outcome on them, you hope that, together you can find a resolution that works for everyone. You could also tell them that when the three of you are together, they should devote their energy to reaching agreement, rather than trying to persuade you which of their views should prevail. Should you initially meet with each colleague separately or jointly?

There are pros and cons to both approaches. The goal is to understand both of their positions what one is claiming and the other rejecting and their interests why they are making and rejecting the claims.

Resolving Team Conflict

Conflict often carries with it a heavy dose of emotion. One or both of your colleagues may be seriously angry.

One or both may feel intimidated by the other. There will be plenty of time in subsequent meetings to talk about how to resolve the conflict. Also be sure in this initial meeting that you are using empathy That must have been really hard for you and not sympathy I feel sorry for what you have been through. You can avoid this by explaining that the purpose of the meeting is to understand both sides of what is going on, not for you to form an opinion on who is right and who is wrong.

Meeting jointly at first has its upsides too.

Merge request conflict resolution

Giving each a chance to do some controlled venting in a joint session may clear the air between them. You should check with both before proposing this approach since you want to be sure that they can engage in such a session without losing their composure, making resolution even more difficult.

And be sure to set some ground rules — each will have a turn, no interruptions, for example — before you begin and be prepared to tightly control the session and even break it off if you cannot control it, otherwise it can turn brutal. Another good reason to have your colleagues meet together is that ultimately, they need to own the resolution of their conflict and they need to develop the ability to talk to each other when future conflicts arise.

Of course, the risk in meeting jointly is that you cannot control the process and the meeting only escalates the conflict. You can switch between modes.


However, our research suggests that starting separately and building empathy and then moving to joint is more effective in resolving conflict than starting jointly and then meeting separately. What should you accomplish in your first meeting? Explain that you see your role as helping them find a mutually acceptable resolution to their conflict, but also to ensure that the resolution does not have negative implications for the team or the organization.

Make clear that deciding whether a particular agreement is acceptable requires their buy-in and yours. And then set out some rules for whenever you meet together. What information do you need to draw out in subsequent meetings? What are the pitfalls to avoid? There are several ways that these discussions can go wrong. The facts argument is an interesting one. Both colleagues may have been at the same scene but each remembers it differently.

They both think that if they could only convince you and their colleague of their view of the facts the conflict would be over.

The problem is that even if you had been there, it is counterproductive to try to convince others of your view, because without new credible information they are unlikely to change their minds about what happened.

The Conflict Within The Conflict Within
The Conflict Within The Conflict Within
The Conflict Within The Conflict Within
The Conflict Within The Conflict Within
The Conflict Within The Conflict Within
The Conflict Within The Conflict Within
The Conflict Within The Conflict Within
The Conflict Within The Conflict Within

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