CONFLICT WITH TEAM MEMBERS, How to Relieve It

Team Members will experience conflicts. A member of your team or another colleague whom you think is in the trenches with you can suddenly become a foe. In an instant, teams meant to work together to achieve the goals and objectives can end up locked in conflict. I don’t think any of us wake up in the morning hoping to deal with conflict………..but it will show up. Conflicts rip teams apart, destroy morale, and will result in poor performance.

So, what do we need to do to relieve the conflict and become a stronger high-performance team? 

  1. Positions – Many team members focus on their job title to dictate the direction. This is very typical for those promoted to a high level for the first time, or maybe it is a person who has occupied the job for many years and feels they know how to strategize for success. To relieve this conflict, the team members must be open to allowing each member to share their thoughts and ideas, and the team provides professional feedback. When each person is talking, other team members must focus on listening to what is being said and understanding where they are coming from and why they are posing the information. 
  2. Mistrust or uneven communication – Many teams have members who create an atmosphere of mistrust because they want the results to follow them. As a part of multiple teams, many members don’t communicate or consider the entire company but focus on what will work best for their assigned responsibilities. This creates a very contentious atmosphere and results in extreme conflict. For example, suppose someone dominates the conversation while others sit silent or appear to have dropped out. In that case, a team member might need to stop the process and ask each person what they need to accommodate their assigned responsibilities. This will reduce the frustration and eliminate the conflict.
  3. Personality clashes – When you don’t get along with a team member, it can make both of you very frustrated. And though you might wish for a personality transplant for your annoying coworker, that’s probably not going to happen. Personality clashes are the most reported problem in the workplace. Too often, these conflicts go unresolved because people concentrate on their personalities rather than focusing on the issues. When the clashes escalate, they create a TOXIC work environment. People influence each other’s behavior. We can’t control or change another person’s personality, but we certainly can control our own emotions and reactions. The clashes are between you and the other person, no one else. Consider what Lou Holtz’s humorous perspective is, “Don’t tell your problems to people! 80% don’t care, and the other 20% are glad you have them.”
  4. Power issues and personal agendas – I am KING and WILL DO what I WANT TO DO! A conflict that involves power issues or solid personal agendas must be deleted. The reality is that some members are not a right fit for the team, and leaders need to remove or offer them another role. This doesn’t happen often, but occasionally it will. The good news is the team usually jumps forward once it changes. 

“When your agenda becomes more important than the team’s desired outcome, team performance suffers, and each member will fail.” 

DENIS BAKER

Conflict can improve team performance when it is handled properly. The challenge for Team members is knowing how and when to intervene.

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

When we have our leaky roof, we’re just hoping to restore things to normal. However, when we repair Team relationships, there is always an opportunity to build more trust and increase future performance.

Denis is an Executive Director for the John Maxwell Group and is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behaviorial Consultant. Denis is a senior safety professional and a strong, passionate influential person. He is committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique, passionate, and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. 

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture training, DISC Behavioral consulting, or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

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