We Hate Team Conflict, So Why Do We Allow It to Squash Team Results?

“If you want great team results, resolve issues as they arise. If you don’t, you risk alienating the team members that can get the job done!” Jeannette Seibly

“If you want to achieve anything in this world, you have to get used to the idea that not everyone will like you.” Simon Sinek

Many leaders focus solely on being liked and refuse to do anything that can disrupt that focus. Unfortunately, when it comes to team conflict, many of them behave like ostriches hoping it will disappear on its own! But! If not addressed, conflict doesn’t disappear and will squash team results!

If you’re hoping for team conflict to resolve itself, you’re in for a very long wait.” Jeannette Seibly

Even though resolving team conflict isn’t for the faint-hearted, it doesn’t need to be scary or impossible!

Keep in mind that managing team conflict (not trying to control it) requires having tough conversations, talking out different points of view, and encouraging critical thinking. While many leaders are not skilled in managing (or having) these types of conversations, these skills can be learned! It’s how new solutions are created, and teams excel! Plus, leaders become respected, confident, and liked.

How to Resolve Team Conflicts and Build Exceptional Results

  1. Be Intentional. Most team members attend meetings with the intention of “just getting through it.” However, as the leader, it’s up to you to listen, learn, and engage all team members in the process. Remember, you’re setting an example for team members to be heard and valued. Your intentional attitude minimizes conflicts and encourages everyone to get on the same page.
  2. Park Your Ego at the Door. Roll up your sleeves, admit to your mistakes, and don’t steamroll over issues! When inevitable issues arise, listen to team members’ rationale and guide them to build a solution that everyone can align with. Don’t rely on your leadership title as the deciding factor. Instead, the goal is to find common ground and ensure all concerns are addressed positively. This reduces the need for team members to take sides or engage in other disruptive behaviors.
  3. Set Up Your Team to Win. At the very beginning of a project or program, establish a clear goal, timeline, and budget. Define who the project or program is for (e.g., company-wide, department, customer, association, or community). Get buy-in from all team members. Naysayers should be excused from the team now, especially if they are your pal or BFF! Otherwise, you’ll squash opportunities for great team results while promoting team conflict!
  4. Ensure Everyone Has a Chance to Speak … especially if you fear dissension. Call on each and every team member, even if you don’t want to hear from them. Listen. Ask others for their thoughts. Encourage and value candor. Expecting team members to always agree with you only derails results while breeding team conflict and sabotaging progress.
  5. Encourage Brainstorming. This is a critical skill, often overlooked; instead of focusing on “busyness” as an excuse, brainstorm solutions. The process allows each team member to share insights and experiences without fear of others bashing their ideas. It saves time when done correctly, engages team members, and reduces team conflict.
  6. Don’t Take Sides. You’re the leader and need to keep an open mind. Be willing to have tough conversations and make difficult decisions while being diplomatic. While team conflict may erupt if they disagree with your decision, be prepared. Remind them you listened to both sides and give no more than three reasons for your decision.
  7. Ask for Help! Put aside your usual do-it-yourself approach. If you don’t, your team will feel muddled in avoidable turmoil. Hire a coach and talk with an internal company mentor. Take the coaching! When you learn and grow from these experiences, your team members will do the same. This approach resolves ongoing team conflict while getting to the heart of the issue.
  8. Learn and Master the Art of Working with Difficult Team Members. Instead of blaming them for problems, focus on their strengths and encourage their efforts in a positive manner. Your willingness to encourage everyone to excel reduces potential team conflict!

©Jeannette Seibly 2021-2022 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has guided the creation of three millionaires and countless 6-figure income professionals. As an award-winning international executive and family business management consultant, keynote speaker, and author for over 29 years, she guides others to make a positive difference. Feel stuck in a political work situation? Want clear advice on how to get out of it? Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note from Jeannette about resolving team conflict: We often become ostriches when there is team conflict. We put our heads in the sand and hope that the issue will resolve itself. It rarely does! With unresolved conflict, team members stop attending meetings, deadlines are missed, and customers are very unhappy. Team conflict can be prevented if you stand up and resolve it in the moment. Do you need a cheerleader or help getting your complex issues resolved? Let’s do it! Let’s Chat!

Have you mistakenly hired a team that loves conflict? This is a great way to lose customers! Improve your interviewing skills by grabbing your FREE copy of the best 16 Must-Read Tips for Productive Hiring Interviews.

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