How to manage conflict in your team in four steps

Minor or major conflicts are unavoidable in any team. Even if your team is made up of only intelligent, emotionally intelligent and friendly people, every now and then a disagreement or argument will occur that can disrupt relationships between team members for a short period of time. So here is some advice on how to resolve such a conflict from a manager's perspective using four simple steps.


Act as soon as possible

As the Harvard Business Review states, once you detect an emerging conflict, take action as quickly as possible. The sooner you intervene, the easier it will be to resolve the conflict. Conversely, the longer you let it swell and grow, the harder it will be to resolve it effectively and quickly.

Create a safe space to talk out the problem

Conflicts are often so much worse when there are assumptions and unexpressed criticism from both sides. The best thing you can do is act as an impartial facilitator, creating a calm and safe space in which all parties can hash out the conflict amongst themselves. Therefore, organise a short meeting, workshop or even just a lunch together to discuss the issue with all stakeholders.

Find a compromise solution

Do not focus so much on where the parties differ, but rather on where they meet and where they can find common ground. On the basis of these common intersections, try to find a compromise solution that is workable for all, or even one that benefits everyone.

Monitor the situation continuously

A conflict is usually not resolved in just one session. Once you have found a workable solution, keep monitoring the situation and its development. And make sure that the conflict has indeed been extinguished, or is at least moving towards a successful resolution.


Article source Harvard Business Review - flagship magazine of Harvard Business School
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