High-Performing Teams & Conflict Resolution

High-Performing Teams & Conflict Resolution

Becoming a high-performing team or organization is a journey, and it is not unusual to encounter conflict along the way.  It is a simple fact of life that conflict happens as we interact and grow. This is particularly true when transforming to an Agile organization with new teams, new management processes and governance.

Part of a robust change management approach involves understanding that there will be conflict and planning for it.  Educating leaders and equipping them to identify conflict types will prepare them to facilitate their teams and resolve issues quickly, essential to the transformation.

To handle conflicts efficiently, one must develop the ability to evaluate the situation by first identifying what type of conflict you are experiencing. Some of the possible causes of conflict may be:

  1. Conflict of power
    • Power and authority conflict often experienced at work, where the question is who should be in charge.
  2. Conflict of interests
    • When two or more parties have different perspectives, needs or goals, they protect and fight to pursue.
  3. Conflict of maturity
    • When individual development of people within a team poses a source of tension, one person going through change can affect the entire team. Allowing the team time to mature together and being intentional about managing the conflict through the maturing process becomes critical.
  4. Conflict of misconception
    • When you don’t know enough about each other’s assignments, context or working conditions, misconceptions, conflicts happen, and people become irritated about actions and decisions.
  5. Conflict of values
    • Conflict of values is the most problematic conflict to resolve. Values are not negotiable; they can’t be bought. Taking time to understand individual values, where they match and where they are in conflict with other team members and organization is essential.

Once the conflict types are identified, finding a path forward is not always clear but openly addressing it is essential.  Solutions are typically determined based on situational context and can include:

  • Collaborating
  • Compromising
  • Adjusting
  • Avoiding
  • Fight or Force

It is usually a combination of two or more types of conflicts that require resolution. It is important to be sure to identify which, and if possible, choose collaboration as your solution style.