How to identify conflict in work teams
As organisations grow and work teams are restructured, the need for training in resolving conflicts becomes more important. Conflict stems from differences, whether these differences are in values, power or attitude, they all have a profound effect on your team’s harmony.
In order to avoid negative consequences that result from conflict, most methods stress the importance of resolving disputes openly and quickly. However, conflict is not necessarily always a bad thing. Sometimes, when managed properly, conflict can result in enhanced work and ultimately a stronger team moving forward. Team building experts Team Tactics shared with us how you can identify and prevent negative conflict in your place of work.
Conflict in work teams
One of biggest advantages a team has over an individual is the collective knowledge, resources and ideas. However, this type of diversity can create conflict. As companies get bigger and teams begin to grow, it becomes imperative that there is training in conflict resolution.
One of the main reasons conflict may continue to escalate is because managers and other senior staff members are not paying enough attention to the issue. Although managers are usually aware of disagreements in the team and have received training in dealing with it, they will often deal with other problems they deem a higher priority first.
With this in mind, it is integral that team members themselves possess a set of skills that can allow them to resolve the conflict on their own.
Reasons for conflict
When individuals come together as part of a team, differences in values, power and social factors are all things that can contribute to the creation of conflict. It can be difficult to expose the source of conflict, so here are a few of the common causes.
Communication barriers are among one of the main factors and act as a prime source of misunderstanding. Barriers include insufficient sharing of information, poor listening skills and the interpretation of information.
Structural disagreements can be things like reward systems, levels of participation, turnover rates, size of the organisation and the level of independence employees have.
This can include factors like an individual’s personal goals, needs, values and self-esteem. In order for conflict to be dealt with, team members and managers must understand its unpredictability and the impact it has on individuals and the team.
Is conflict always destructive?
In many cases of employee conflict, new ideas and approaches to organisational processes have been achieved. Conflict, like this can be considered positive, as it provides opportunities and brings important issues to the forefront, where people can develop interpersonal skills and communication.
The impact of negative conflict
Negative conflict is when it continues to escalate and staff members are left feeling dejected, with an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. Often down to poor planning, this escalation can destroy a team. Areas from which negative conflict commonly occurs include:
- People resources
With insufficient resources, a team will struggle to perform their jobs effectively, causing others to take more of the brunt. Always ensure team leaders are providing enough resources.
- Administrative procedures
Members of the team will struggle to coordinate their work if there is insufficient preparation for what they need to do.
All members should try and work together to help meet deadlines. The schedules need to be highly visible and everyone needs to know what each other is doing.
Working effectively as a team
For individuals to perform effectively as one, they must be able to listen, offer constructive criticism and communicate their own ideas clearly. Although it can be difficult, learning how to appreciate people’s differences reflect how well a team can manage conflict.
TeamTactics offer many fantastic and fun ways of forming stronger relationships and getting your team to bond in a relaxed, non-working atmosphere with their team building days out. If you feel tension brewing within your company, team building days out can be a great way of diffusing the situation.
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