When dealing with different personalities, genders, backgrounds, etc. there is bound to be conflict within a team. The matter is that most individuals do not like to deal with conflict, but it can actually be helpful. Conflict arises when there are conflicting viewpoints or activities between the team members. It can be something as simple as a disagreement over a minor change in a process to friction over a significant initiative that someone wishes to implement.
Irrespective of the issue, the best way to deal with conflict is for staff members to discuss the issues openly and fairly. Instead many people want to avoid these essential conversations at any cost, or directives have been put in place at the corporate level that can’t be shared with everyone. Keeping lines of communication open at all levels reduces friction, gossip, and rumors. To do it properly, the messaging must be not only accurate, but consistent in its presentation and content. Too often, communications are vague and misleading which makes the battle even larger than when it started out.
This can also lead to incorrect speculations and possibly fear within the group. Leaders will need to comprehend each team member’s view on an issue and get his or her feedback. They may be perceiving the battle completely different then what is actually happening, or they are possibly interjecting their past to the situation.
The perfect way to begin resolving a conflict is to make sure everyone understands the root cause of the disagreement. There may have to be several discussions about this to eventually get to the real issue. The team then must realize that everyone might not have the exact same opinion on how to deal with the conflict, but it should be agreed upon that each person has an opportunity to voice their opinion and be respected.
The final outcome should be one where everybody feels it is a win-win resolution. It probably will not be a 50-50 win, but the team members should feel that they have been part of the procedure, and they are prepared to forgo some things for the better of the team in order to create a more cohesive work environment. If all else fails, earning a third party, i.e. individual resources or adviser, may help for larger conflict resolution.