Leading Teams Through Conflict
Leading Teams Through Conflict – when a new group comes together all kinds of tensions may arise. Team members will begin to debate how to go forward. What are the priorities going to be? Who is going to take which role in the team? What systems and processes will you put in place? At this point your leadership skills are important.
Differences of opinion and beliefs can lead to conflict. And team members may begin to jockey for position. Power struggles can break out, particularly if you have a number of strong personalities vying to lead. They may begin to challenge you as group leader. And cliques may form.
Leading Teams Through Conflict – where to start
So what can you do? The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationship and emotional issues. Some compromises will need to be made. You will need to help them find the middle ground.
A good way to start is to make sure that all are clear about the goal. Show them the real benefits of what you are trying to do. There needs to be lots of communication. The group has to understand the importance of the task, the processes needed and their roles.
If all is going well, the group will move on to agree some “norms” for working together.
If you still have tensions
But, if you still have tensions, set down the ground rules for group behaviour. Get the group to agree that they should treat each other with respect. You will need to keep a close eye on the debate. If it is about ideas, that is a good sign and they can be left to work it out if time allows. But, if the debate becomes personal then you will need to intervene. Don’t suppress conflict completely because the group will stagnate. They will not learn to work together very well if you suppress debate. This is where planning social events can help. These give people an opportunity to see each other in a more rounded way.
If necessary, tighten up the goals and targets. Get the group to focus very sharply upon them. Make sure they understand the benefits which will be lost if people are not ready to compromise and reach agreement. If cliques have formed, try putting people to work with others outside their chosen subgroup. This is so that new relationships can be established.
With your leadership, the team will come together and meet their goals.
Other resources to help you
You will find lots of other tips on team leadership on my blog. Try this link.”
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Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org