How to Prepare Your Team to Manage Conflict
When it comes to conflict, we often shy away from it because we don’t want to upset anyone or make the situation worse. However, avoiding conflict can actually do more harm than good. It can lead to resentment, miscommunication, and a breakdown in trust.
Conflict is a normal part of any team dynamic. In order to function effectively, it’s important to have a system in place to address conflict in a productive way.
This team activity is designed to get your team talking about conflict and how to make it easier to address conflict. The objective is to come up with a plan that will help the team resolve conflict in a way that is respectful and efficient.
1. Ask the team: What is your comfort level with conflict at work on a scale of 1-5? (1= low, 5 = high)
- If you are all in a room together, you can ask people to line up on a continuum across the front of the room or mark a continuum on a flip chart.
- If you are meeting virtually, you can ask people to annotate on a continuum on a slide or share their responses in chat.
2. Ask for conclusions about the scores. For example, if most people selected a low number, ask what reasons someone might be uncomfortable with conflict.
3. Divide the team into small groups.
2. Each group will brainstorm a list of Dos and Don'ts when it comes to conflict resolution.
3. After the brainstorm, each group will share their list with the rest of the team.
4. The team will then discuss and come to a consensus on the top 10 Dos and Don’ts for conflict resolution.
5. The team will create an action plan based on the top 10 Dos and Don’ts.
While conflict is uncomfortable for many teams, it is a natural occurrence. Teams who can openly talk about conflict and agree to norms for resolving it will be happier and more productive.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, Team Consultant Academy, and FORWARD, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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