It is a common business practice to formulate teams to work on specific projects within an organization. “Organizations increasingly rely on teams to improve quality, efficiency and adaptive change” (Yukl, 2006 pg. 347 p. 1). While this approach has been proven to be successful, any time a team is assembled from individuals with different backgrounds and ideas a conflict will occur. Conflicts within groups and teams can arise from many sources.
“The early approach to conflict assumed that all conflict was bad.Conflict was viewed negatively and was used synonymously with such terms as violence, destruction, and irrationality to reinforce its negative connotation” (Judge & Robbins, 2007 pg 505 p. 1). However, conflicts and disagreements are common when people come together to work towards a common goal. Conflicts within a team are due to a clash of opinions in an environment where people care about the outcome. Therefore, anytime you have a group of individuals who care about results, there will be conflicts concerning how to achieve team success.Without conflict, teams can become complacent and can lead to a decrease in performance. If handled correctly, conflicts can have a positive effect on a team.
The challenge for a team leader should not lie in how to avoid conflict, but rather how to properly facilitate a resolution that will achieve a positive outcome. Failure to properly manage a team conflict can disrupt the group process and can have an adverse effect on team synergy and cohesion.A team leader must develop a clear understanding of the issues revolving a team conflict , their responsibilities are much more complex than simply facilitating the team’s success. “Conflicts are part of individual relationships and organizational development, and no relationship or organization can hope to mature to productivity and be successful without being able to resolve conflicts effectively” (Cottringer, 1997, p. 6). Teams must learn to embrace conflict to help generate new ideas and create a balance within the team and among members.There are many techniques team leaders can utilize to resolve a conflict. Each conflict situation is unique, still it is important for the team to establish a conflict resolution strategy early in the working relationship.
By involving the entire team in the process, the team leader can get the team to focus on positive resolution behaviors rather than resorting to anger and aggression as a result of a disagreement or misunderstanding. Furthermore, the team should establish a step by step process to address the issue of conflict management.This will promote a clear and systematic approach to resolving team conflicts. Conflicts are inevitable, especially when working in a team setting. Crucial deadlines and high expectations can increase tensions within a group that lead to disagreements and confrontations. By implementing ground rules and a conflict resolution strategy, the group or team leader can work through these disagreements in a fair and efficient manner.
The ability to properly manage conflicts can lead to positive effects on team morale and can improve team synergy and cohesion.