Team Conflict? Name It and You Can Resolve It.
Got conflict on the team that you lead? Are you not getting along with a few others on your own team?
Conflict is a fact of everyday life. You see it surface when people have opposing views, different ideas, unmet needs, and personal agendas. When the conflict is unrecognized, unchecked, and gets out of hand, you watch the morale dip, see slowdowns and roadblocks, less-than-stellar results, and you often lose your best people.
One of the main reasons that everyday work issues go from small to big very quickly is that most of us don't recognize the type of conflict we're in -- and because of that, don't know how to approach the issue before it gets blown out of proportion.
5 Conflict Types
There are five types of conflict situations that are the most prevalent at work. Recognizing the type of issue in your midst gives you the first step in managing it before it skyrockets into a full-blown problem.
- Goal conflicts. Caused when goals aren't clear, when people are in disagreement about the stated goals, or when the expected outcomes of the goals are not fully understood. In other words -- people don't know where they're going and why.
- Role conflicts. Occur when roles aren't clear, when people are assuming responsibilities associated with someone else's role, and when a particular role, and therefore the person associated with it, isn't valued. People don't know who's doing what and why.
- Conflicts over methods. Appear when there's disagreement about or dislike for the methods one or more people are using to reach an end result. Some people are doing things one way, while others are going about getting the result in a different way.
- Conflicts about expectations. These surface when expectations of one another aren't clear or aren't met. For example, you were expecting one thing from your employee, your peer, your boss and got something else instead, or didn't get anything at all.
- Conflicts around leadership or management styles. Leadership and management styles are so different that working together has become a problem. Often occurs when there's a mix of push and pull leadership styles and no discussion has been had around making the most of these differences.
When you know the issue, when it's brought to everyone's attention without blame or judgment, the conversation about fixing the problem can begin.
Here's one example for a methods conflict discussion when you're leading the team or the project.
“Looks like we're going in different directions to reach the same goal. There are many ways we can get there. Let's see if we can get agreement on a way we can all live with.”
(c) 2009 Denise Brouillette, San Francisco, CA. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be downloaded, photocopied, reprinted, or distributed electronically or by any other means without this paragraph accompanying it. www.LeaderXpress.com