Mary Parker Follett simply defines conflict as, “the appearance of difference, of opinions and interests”.
Conflicts are the thoughts, ideas of the individual that differ from others. These are surrounded by the stigma of calling it as a threat or bad luck in the team.
Conflict can arise from numerous sources within a team setting and generally falls into three categories: communication factors, structural factors, and personal factors:
1. Communication factors-
Half- information is a common threat in the organisation. According to studies, 40% of the information get distorted while conveying among the teams. Communication barrier includes poor listening skills, lack of transparency, and the differences in the perspective of an individual.
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2. Structural factors-
Structural barriers include the size of the organisation, freedom in participation, turnover rate, and reward systems.
3. Personal factors-
The personal disagreement involves grudges between team members, individual’s self-esteem, their goals, and expectations.
Conflicts in the work team are not always destructive. Sometimes, it outlines management work more effectively. Healthy conflicts lead to a better understanding of team goals, ensure innovative ideas, and enhance problem solving approach.
One can learn from the childhood experience when a teacher appreciates the student who tend to ask more questions. Similarly, conflicts open the gateway of the brain to think and act upon the unfavourable situations. On the contrary, destructive conflicts act like foreign antibodies that continue to destroy and divide the team if left unchecked. Working in harmony is the antidote for solving team conflicts.
Here are some tips that managers and team leaders can follow to handle conflicts effectively:
Employees are the pillars of an organisation. Everyone needs recognition, credit for the hours, time and sweat he/she put in. Everybody has a unique perspective, opinion, idea, and outlook on topics related to day to day decisions. Some handle unfavourable situations well while others may not have the same potential. Accepting conflicts is a sign of good team management. Being ignorant about the inner conflicts in the team results in low productivity, fall in turnover and shortage of resources.
Identify Creative Conflicts
Creativity is an art that is mastered by intellectual minds. Arguments, debates, the difference in opinions, and ideas does not always bring harm to the team. Many times, conflicts act as a catalyst to foster employee productivity and growth. Brainstorming is possible only when the mind works under pressure. Thinking profoundly in uncertain situations increases the chance to generate innovative ideas, strategies, and method.
Understand People Behaviour
It is important for managers to study human behaviour of each individual in their teams. Managers are entitled to keep a close look at the behaviour, performance, reaction of individuals in the team. A good measure of testing an individual’s personality is Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myer’s typological approach. This test categorizes an individual into one of the 16 personality types. This information helps to figure out personality traits of an individual, based on which correct roles can be assigned to them.
Take Problem-solving Approach
Teamwork facilitates deep learning of cognitive skills, decision making, conflict resolution and team spirit among staff. Team working together assimilate opinion, ideas and share views at the workplace. Steps are involved in the problem-solving approach are
- Analysing the situation
- Finding alternatives
Collaborate more often
There is an old saying, ‘Power lies in unity’. Organizational goals can be best achieved when teams work together, when ’I’ is replaced with ’We’. Collaboration is the first ladder to ensure success of teams and teamwork. When team members work together in harmony, they become more capable of resolving minor conflicts.
Moderate Decision Making
Receiving confirmation of the team on the decision is a complex and tiresome process.
A non-motivated member in a team may try to cut corners when a quick decision is needed. Each member does not need to agree on every decision. Sometimes, it even intensifies the urge to disagree with other members as a point of interest differs. A manager must know when to supersede and take the decision on behalf of the team which is good for majority.
Conflicts are neither constructive nor destructive. Perspective, the behaviour of the individual defines its direction. In very less time, the benefits of teamwork could transform its pace leading to the destruction. A great leader is one who transmits the flow of a team in one direction and brings out the positive impact of conflicts and side-line the negative ones.