Many times, when there is conflict or disagreements, we view the other team members as enemies. Then, most team members will take sides, while others will want to remain neutral. Regardless, viewing others as a friend or foe impedes collaborative actions since the focus is no longer on win-win-win results.
The added challenge is, when there is conflict, many people get fearful. They do the “ostrich approach” and stick their heads in the sand. They hope for the best since they don’t have the confidence or skills to impact the conflict. They also fear the impact the conflict will have on future job opportunities.
Conflict and collaboration impact the results of any project. They also impact the effectiveness of the team. While avoiding conflict limits your effectiveness as a leader, failure to build collaboration limits your team’s results. It also hurts your future career opportunities.
7 Tips to Improve Collaboration
- Set the Right Example. It’s OK to disagree and have differing ideas, values, and experiences! This awareness is key so that you and your team members don’t overreact or stop listening. The key is to listen and be open to hearing others’ points of view. As the leader, it starts with you setting the right example and expecting your team members to do the same.
- Brainstorm. It isn’t hard when done right. When brainstorming ideas, list ALL ideas from each and every team member. If there are concerns, ask questions for clarification, not for debate.
- Ensure Everyone Speaks. Call on each person for his/her perspective and ideas. Allow them to “pass” if they don’t want to share at that time. Again, ask each team member until there are no new ideas offered. Go around the team at least 2 times after new ideas have stopped to ensure no one is hiding out.
- Respect Each Team Member. Remember, it’s OK to not agree with others. Conflicts arise, along with voices when people do not feel heard. Get the training necessary for you and your team to feel heard. As the leader, set the example of listening while valuing and respecting each and every team member’s perspective and ideas. Remember, off-the-wall or silly ideas can spark the right ones!
- Stop Multi-Tasking. Have everyone leave their electronic devices and other distractions at the door. If on a remote call, remind them to shut down other programs and minimize distractions. It’s important to remember when we truly listen new ideas get generated.
- Address the Fear as It Arises. Regardless of all the team training, some team members will get fearful during conflicts. Fear is contagious. As the leader, it’s up to you to learn how to recognize and manage it now. Work with your executive coach to develop a mindful resilience for yourself, which inspires team members to do the same.
- Align for Better Results. Many companies rely on 100% consensus as their way of resolving conflicts. However, it’s a poor strategy. The hoping and waiting costs time, money, and customers! It also breeds silos and distrust. Instead, align by agreeing on the best plan for right now. Understand how it will impact the company tomorrow. Then, put together a strategy to move forward.
©Jeannette Seibly 2020
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker. For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel in business and beyond. Need help developing you and your team to achieve better results? Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation. Don’t forget to listen toOn the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.
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