Avoiding the Pitfalls
members can do a lot of things to avoid conflict from happening
throughout the process.
concerned with other's viewpoints: Other people have thoughts
too just like us. Make sure that we are listening to them. Who
knows, they might even have a better idea than us. Shutting a person
off when they are trying to make a point may shut them off with
future ideas also as well as creating contempt for the person/s not
listening to them.
with specific issues only: The leader must make sure that issues
discussed are clear and the team doesn't start rambling off into
other areas not issue related. This is very commonplace in team
meetings when everyone is exited about problem solving. Don't bring
sideline issues into the discussion or soon everyone is lost and
conflict will happen.
to the here and now: The leader cannot allow unpleasant issues
from other areas into discussions. Failures of the past do not
belong in discussions for future successes unless they have a
positive value to reinforce direction. Also, no one should be
allowed to bring in pcsrsonal issues of no relation to the subject
all pertinent information: Some members will have a tendency to
withhold certain information to give them a little edge over others.
This is converse to team playing and if discovered by the leader
should be brought to their attention immediately. All known
information must be shared with all. If we are a team we cannot
leave others out from any knowledge that is necessary to accomplish
with easiest to resolve issues first: If we pick issues that are
easier to solve first it gives us a feeling of what success is like.
We now have something under our belts that shows progress has been
made. It's a great set-up to take on the issues that will take
longer to solve and will perhaps be harder to accomplish. It's
always best to be able to look back and feel that a certain amount
of progress has already been made.
Conflict When It Occurs
are five accepted methods for handling negative conflict when it
does happen: Direct, Bargaining, Enforcement, Retreat and
De-emphasis. Each will have a use in different circumstances.
method is perhaps the best of all. This concentrates on the leader
handling the issue head-on and counts on their techniques of problem
solving. It is always best to look at issues for what they are, even
if they may be uncomfortable to deal with. The leader must make sure
that when criticism is used in this area, though, that is highly
constructive to the recipients. The direct approach normally leaves
everyone with a sense of resolution because it doesn't hide any of
the real issues. All issues must be openly discussed.
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is an excellent technique when two or more people are both coming up
with great ideas but yet cannot find common ground. It often takes a
leader to find the compromise. Ownership of our ideas is very strong
and when we're selling them ourselves we often don't look to the
other persons ideas as an enhancement to ours. Compromise allows
all parties to walk away EQUALLY DISSATISFIED! All players must
give and take some in this method.
method should be used only on rare occasion. It is dangerous and can
often bring about hard feelings towards the leader and the team.
This is the win/lose situation that we would like to avoid if
possible. Enforcement would only be used when all other methods have
failed. Most often this technique is only used when it is obvious
that a member does not want to be a team player and refuses to work
with the rest. In this case we may have to sacrifice one to save the
whole. The normal recommendation here is that if enforcement has to
be used on an individual it may be best for that person to find
another team that they do like.
As terrible as the word
sounds this is also a successful technique when used in the right
environment. Retreat would be used when the problem isn't a real
problem to begin with and the leader simply avoids it or works
around it. Often these conflicts arise simply because someone had a
bad day or night and they are introducing things that they would
normally never do. These are normally emotionally driven and if any
other technique were to be used they would
simply inflate and then become a real problem that should have never
happened. It takes an experienced leader to recognize these and work
around them without slighting the individual/s that have brought
them into the meeting.
is a form of bargaining but here we are looking for pure emphasis on
the areas of agreement that the individuals are discussing. If they
are locked only in areas of disagreement once they see that there
are areas where they are complementing each other a new direction
can now take place in the discussion. Teams don't normally like to
disagree but they are deeply committed to their ideas so the leader
must simply keep them on the right track and going in the same
that a team leaders job is a tough one is certainly not saying
enough. It is up to the team leader to manage a group of people to
be individuals but yet work as a team. The team leader must keep the
peace and yet create a revolution with this group all at the same
time. The good leader will require a lot of education/training and
tons of practical application to be a success.
The good news is,
however, that the team leader's job is a rewarding one. One that
they'll always feel good about if they do it right. How many of us
get the opportunity to take a group of wonderful, thinking
individual minds and pull from them ideas that a whole team can take
to success? Yes, the job is indeed tough but the paybacks are many.
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