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Our ultimate goal here is to create Team Synergy, right? We’ve talked about having trust, so we are able to open up. Then to be inspired so the team is working with the same or similar internal purpose. Connection, the next step in team building so creativity, problem-solving, and brainstorming flow freely. Now comes the most important step in all of Team Synergy, the Conflict Resolution phase.
It’s human nature to have a conflict with people. We are independent, it’s easy to blame others instead of taking responsibility, we get angry, and we act in ways that go against the purpose of what others are trying to achieve. What those groups have that are successful over time is conflict resolution.
Why Conflict Resolution
Innovation, creativity, brainstorming, problem-solving…these all take moments of “playing in the sandbox.” Meaning you and others are put in a box to freely invent, explore, imagine but with little to no regulation and guidance. Castles crumble, people step on each other’s creations, tools and resources are taken, etc. Transfer this image to the home or meeting room and see how much conflict happens.
Without a resolution, there are grudges, pissed-off people, threats of walking out, that last for days or weeks. The natural conflict that is good for all of our evolution rapidly is hindered or stalled when conflict resolution isn’t present. And the longer it takes to have a resolution the slower your group is to get back to positive, effective connections and trust.
So, how soon do you want conflict resolution? Before anyone leaves the “sandbox.”
What Types of Conflict Is There?
There are several types of conflict you can experience with people. Here’s a quick recap:
- Personal Differences- values, mindset, belief systems
- Conflicting Objectives- wanting to build a new house while caring profoundly for reserving natural land, the sales team giving discounts to move product while the finance department is cutting promotions to save money
- Lack of Information- misinformation, miscommunication
- Misunderstandings- cultural, slang, assumptions
- Role Incompatibility- unclear expectations, misdirection, misassignment
- Environmental stress- noise, crowding, insects, natural disasters
- Opposing stress thresholds- one person doesn’t worry about finances while the other checks the bank account daily, someone’s a strong planner while the other is incredibly spontaneous
Understanding the type of conflict you are in helps change the conversation. Instead of simply arguing about dirty clothes on the floor (personal differences) you can share that cleanliness is a value of yours and reduces your stress when things are orderly. Or, becoming irritated that someone listens to music too loud (environmental) and you don’t quite hear what they are saying (lack of information) can turn into you sharing background noise distracts you and it’s important to you to genuinely listen to what they have to say.
Making sure you are having the right conversations makes all the difference in conflict resolution.
But What if Conflict Arises
And, let me say again, it will, there are ways to quickly mend it up and move on.
- Ignore it- You don’t have to address every time a person has a misstep or offends you. If you feel the need to do so, it’s probably more your issue than anyone else’s. Seek coaching immediately.
- Give space- A bit of separation, breathing room, time does the brain good during conflict. The stress response is triggered and while that cortisol is flowing it’s harder to be rational and critically think. Back off and wait until you feel calm. You probably will find your perception of the situation has changed.
- Create consequences- Sometimes people dig into the conflict so strongly they don’t see past how it’s hurting themselves and the group. Consequences of their behaviors can motivate them to break their pattern and move towards resolution. This is not a healthy way for conflict resolution to occur.
- Provide/Seek counsel- Discussing the situation with someone that will provide you with neutral guidance and counsel can be very powerful. For the resolution of course but also to help you have personal growth for permanent change.
- Mediation- This intervention is necessary when 2 or more parties cannot see past their own rightness. Mediation often ends with a lose-lose situation unless the parties can accept their role in the conflict. The goal of mediation is to be able to move on, not win.
Knowing and accepting conflict resolution as a regularly practiced principle allows for teams to do what few can, have pure acceptance of each other as humans, and allow us to each live and work our best lives free from judgment, fear, and criticism. We get to show up fully charged and even eager to think big and bold, share dreams and take risks.
It’s human nature to have conflict with people. We are independent, it’s easy to blame other’s instead of taking responsibly, we get angry, and we act in ways that goes against the purpose of what others are trying to achieve. What those groups have that are successful over time is conflict resolution.