How Can You Resolve Conflicts in Teams in Your Organization?

Team conflicts deplete creative energy, divert attention from critical projects, and consume valuable time. To be effective, executives must recognize potential and actual conflicts, recognize the kind of conflict, and apply the correct method to resolve them peacefully. Don’t make further conflict! In this blog, I describe two common conflicts and ways to resolve them. I’ll discuss others in future blogs.
The skills you need are ones we can all master. They breed two critical qualities: respect and trust. I describe the skills at the end of this blog.
1). Butting heads. Disagreement in teams is often acrimonious. The more the team debates, the more each side cements its position. The key to resolving this is a secret: The members of the team are in the same organization, so they agree about something valuable. This is an unstated, forgotten alignment underneath the conflict. When you discover it and bring it out, the conflict can be resolved.
How? Explore the viewpoints of both sides (and their key people) in detail during team meetings:
• What does side A really mean?
• What do they mean by that?
• Are there ever times they considered doing something like B?
• Then, what does side B mean and mean about that?
• Do they ever consider doing something like side A?
• Under what circumstances, when?
Within a few hours, or after a couple of meetings, your neutral viewpoint will let you feel the underlying alignment. Bring it in the open, and feel, hear, and see the team’s reactions to it. Now you can suggest a solution. Sometimes the two sides agree. Sometimes they agree to disagree, but respect the viewpoint of the others. Either way, you suggest a way for your team to move forward for the organization’s good and the good of the people it serves.
2) Teams that are stuck. A team you’ve just formed for a new problem is bewildered at first. Established teams can lose focus or sense of purpose. They may have improvised so long their path isn’t clear.
Explore values and viewpoints by a different method from the “butting heads”. You (or someone from outside the team) will be effective if you quickly gain respect and trust. Come from a neutral viewpoint and support the creative energy of the team’s members.
Ask the team: “What is important about the job, organization, or problem”? Encourage everyone to answer. Write answers in the order given. Pregnant pauses give holdouts courage to speak. People may answer several times.
Post the list where all can see. Next, make a new list by going through the first list in order, and asking for each point, what’s important about it? Expect several answers for each item. Anyone can answer. List these answers as given. Continue until you can feel a common sense of purpose and direction. Verify this is true by asking: “Do I sense that you are all saying…?”
The team will feel and want to give high performance. They’ve inspired themselves, so you won’t need to return.
You have the skills you need. We all do, some are better than others. Brush up by resolving several conflicts well. If you want to develop strong skills – that inspire respect and trust ‒ before you tackle critical conflicts, take a course in a robust technology of consciousness that enables you to master the following skills quickly and effectively:
• Feeling others’ emotions
• Keeping a detached neutral viewpoint
• Being empathetic without being drawn into another’s emotions
• Supporting someone else’s creativity.
• Coming from intuition, not a “gut feeling”