Managing Team Conflict Resolution

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Managing conflict and resolving problems within teams can be achieved through the following steps:

  1. Identify the root cause of the conflict: Start by understanding the underlying reasons for the conflict. This will help you find a solution that addresses the real issue, rather than just treating symptoms.
  2. Get confidential feedback from participants: ask your team members to provide confidential feedback with their thoughts and concerns with the full assurance that their comments will not be disclosed to the group at large of who said what. 
  3. Collect the feedback and generate summary report of feedback: The facilitator getting the feedback would review the feedback and generate a summary executive report to the whole team. Based from the feedback, the report would include:
    1. The key common categories or topics to discuss
    2. The feedback showing the pros and cons for each category/topic
    3. The action items from the feedback for each category / topic
  4. Bring the team together into a group discussion: The facilitator would send the summary report to all participants the day before and ask them to be ready for the meeting. The objective of the meeting would be to go through all the categories and topics and find common ground and alignment.
  5. Follow the CARE model of dialogue and listening: The CARE model are the 4 phases of great collaboration that foster alignment and great communication. For each of the categories, the facilitator would ensure the team follows each of these phases:
    1. C: Creation of the idea - everyone reads through that topic from the report and asks clarifying questions, without challenging tone, and others answer the question favorably to give clarity to what is being presented. No one challenges nor shoots the idea down.
    2. A: Advancing the idea - in this phase, everyone discusses and brainstorms the pros of the idea and everyone participates in the big picture discussion of how the idea is possible, especially those who know they are not in favor of the idea. During this brainstorm segment there are no bad ideas. Deep and sincere respect is shown to not shoot each other’s comments and suggestions. The facilitator has to govern this well so that the meeting is not hijacked by the stronger personalities or those with higher titles in the org chart present.
    3. R: Refining the idea -  in this phase is where everyone challenges the idea and refines it and discusses the cons and negatives of the idea. Everyone participates in challenging, especially those who are in favor of the idea, and as a team agree on those data points and further information that may be needed to collect before moving to the final phase of execution.
    4. E: Executing the idea - in this phase is where the necessary back-n-forth discussion / debate is had to determine the decision whether to table it, get more information, approve it, or put it on hold for a future discussion. The facilitator ensures that the idea is not left in limbo and in a vague state of “we’ll get back to it later”. When the idea is approved, the team should discuss who is going to implement it, who is going to define that implementation and the timeline associated with the implementation.
  6. The signs of great collaboration through team conflict are these markers:
    1. A good, open dialogue where everyone’s input was respected and everyone knew the decision-making process.
    2. A clear decision was made, even if there was a minority of team members who voted against it.
    3. Did you ask everyone involved in the discussions and vote - including those who were against it - to support the decision of the group and to champion the decision and its implementation even defending it as though they themselves were in agreement. 
  7. This is the sign of true leadership. If the team makes a decision and the individual team members afterwards do not support it, your team is not a team. Everyone has to operate from a “one-voice” approach when decisions are made. Otherwise, the frontline team members will quickly notice there is division within the team and the project will fail, falter or be very delayed.

Remember how Brian Tracy summarized this:

“The results are much better for teams if you have gone through a detailed process of discussion, made a clear decision, and then requested full commitment and support. This is the true mark of leadership.”

Here is the CARE model to practice in your conversations and team discussion. Click Here. Contact us to train you and your teams how to use this model to create a powerful and practical approach to team alignment and direction. 

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