What are the common causes of team conflict? How do we resolve team conflict?
When it comes to resolving conflict, it’s important to have an understanding of what actually causes conflict in the first place.
Understanding the causes of conflict will help you decide what to do when you’re faced with having to resolve it. Conflicts should be resolved as quickly as possible to keep your team running smoothly and efficiently.
How do clashes in personality and values/ principles lead to conflict?
Everyone is different, some people will get on better with certain individuals than others, it just depends on dynamics.
This can be a positive thing; because everyone thinks differently, valuing and utilizing people’s differences can make your team more productive and creative.
However, because a workplace will inevitably bring together people from different backgrounds, genders, political and religious beliefs, conflicts can arise if individuals have conflicting values.
Part of addressing these conflicts is ensuring you and your team are aware of your differences and accepting of diversity.
It can be difficult when we come across colleagues who’s way of operating asks us to go against our own values and beliefs, but by being open-minded, empathetic, curious and respectful in conversations with others when differences arise, we can prevent conflict from escalating and damaging working relationships.
How does the workplace environment lead to conflict?
As well as the people it’s important to consider the work environment itself.
Ask yourself-is the environment conducive to team work or is it contributing to conflict? A good example of this is often parking. If more people need to park than there are spaces for, this can inevitably cause conflict.
It might not always be feasible to implement a solution as extreme as moving premises, but resolving conflict around sharing limited resources could be as easy as implementing a rota ensuring everyone gets their fair share.
Simply listening to your team and providing any extra resources they feel are lacking or extra touches to increase their comfort (for example plentiful stocks of tea and coffee or some potted plants) can reduce conflict by creating a more pleasant work environment.
How do individual responses and pressure points lead to conflict?
We’re all human and sometimes people will react to difficult situations with an instinctive ‘fight or flight’ response.
For example, criticism can cause people to act defensively in the heat of the moment, as they calm down they will probably realise the feedback was intended to be helpful.
Everybody has different ‘trigger points’. For example many people do not want to be regarded as lazy and any implication that they might be so can cause a reaction.
Bad experiences in someone’s life or career can influence the way they react. Being treated badly by a previous manager can make people sensitive to treatment they perceive as unfair.
Addressing issues promptly, is often the best way to handle this kind of conflict. It’s sometimes possible to diffuse a situation in the moment by calmly explaining your perspective.
Often, people avoid difficult situations, as they don’t want to cause such conflict, but if ongoing tension is left unresolved it can fester and lead to an even worse conflict, sometimes it’s best to face a situation and work through the conflict sooner.
How do personal problems contribute to team conflict?
Sometimes personal problems will inevitably impact our performance at work. If others are unaware of a person’s situation, this can cause conflict if the person ‘snaps’ and behaves rudely or inappropriately, seemingly without cause.
It’s not always obvious what’s going on in people’s lives, remember everybody is allowed to have a ‘bad