At times, it seems that conflict is an inevitability when people are brought together. This can be seen even when there is the greatest of intentions for that team to be assembled in the first place. What is fascinating are the different events that can cause the conflicts and the aspects that can deliver the team members from those conflicts.
In my own personal experiences in professional environments, I have dealt with certain challenges such as little or no leadership, no organizational vision, counterproductive policies and procedures, unclear team roles, and a lack of trust. Of all of these, I found the lack of trust to be the absolute most detrimental to a team’s effectiveness and overall productivity. It instills resentment and fear within the organization. Through the use of acronyms, there are ways to identify and deal with conflicts in a very memorable manner. For example, the use of D.A.R.E. to limit problems you encounter:
R: roll out
The use of T.E.A.M.S. to describe how to bring a team back to a group mentality instead of individual goals:
The Four “P”s to guiding yourself and others though conflict:
In Enhancing Effectiveness on Virtual Teams (2011), Berry discusses the four competencies in for leading effective virtual teams with a superb correlation to identifying and alleviating conflict. I agree where he describes them as being critical (p. 200).
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision… the ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
I feel this is a reflection of those principles Berry was discussing.
Conflicts will occur. The challenge is what you do with it. Try being more observant to your colleagues’ behaviors, and see where they may be avoiding conflict. Just as General George S. Patton said, “Don’t tell people how to do things. Discuss what the end result should be and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
Berry, G. R. (2011). Enhancing Effectiveness on Virtual Teams. Journal Of Business Communication, 48(2), 186-206.