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Welcome Open Team Conflict

A team leader’s role is to establish or sanctify the roles each team member will play when working toward the clear-cut goal.  When conflict arises – and it will – the team leader’s role is to understand the nature of the conflict and have it, the conflict, work toward the betterment of the team or go away.

Conflict comes in many forms.  One of the most challenging types of conflict to resolve arise from personality differences.  From the humans.  You are probably nodding your head from experience you have had working with difficult people.

People conflicts are common, yet they are not the most difficult for a team leader to manage.  The most difficult type of conflict is the one that is unseen, elusive.  Tom and Pete may be getting along well in team meetings yet their conflicting personalities may take a toll behind the scenes in ways the team manager may not detect.  If Tom were to accuse or criticize Pete for some sort of failing, the conflict can be revealed.  However, when Pete and Tom are silently fighting each other, the tension shows up in other areas.  When individuals don’t express their true feelings, they tend to point to – make excuses for – other factors getting in their way.  This behavior can send a manager on a hunt that takes him/her to no-where land.

For instance, Tom may believe that Pete’s slow work pace affects Tom’s performance yet Tom may be complaining about the unreasonableness of the schedule so loudly that the team manager is unable to detect the root of the problem.

You’ve heard that expression “nip it in the bud?”  A team leader cannot resolve conflicts that are not known.  A team leader cannot nip a conflict in the bud if the bud isn’t evident.

An effective team leader welcomes and encourages open conflict and stresses the importance of honesty from the team members.  Team building is a frustrating exercise for those leaders who feel there should be no conflict.  Bring it on!

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