3 Ways That a Good Team Leader Overcomes Internal Conflict

BY Kathy Crosett
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Do you consider yourself to be a good team leader? This is a question all managers should ask. In addition to assisting individual employees, you should also be focused on team success.

3 Ways That a Good Team Leader Overcomes Internal Conflict

One common roadblock on the path to team success is internal conflict. Employees find many reasons to feel slighted and start bickering. Often, these situations will resolve as your team members shift their focus back to work.

But ongoing and unresolved team conflict exists in many organizations. If the manager doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, productivity and engagement suffer. If you feel uncomfortable about managing conflict on your team, ask for training to improve your skills.

Once you’ve received training, you’ll need to actively monitor your employees for signs of conflict. If the arguing team members don’t resolve their disagreements, use your newly acquired skills. Restore harmony using these three steps.

Understand Motivations

Conflict resolution usually begins with a meeting. Before you set a meeting, review the results of psychometric assessments these employees have taken. Details in these reports can guide you on individual employee motivation and where they may feel challenged in the workplace.

Meet to Discuss the Conflict Cause

With that information in mind, meet in a private location with the employees. Establish your meeting goals, which should be to understand the source of the conflict and explore resolutions.

Workplace conflict almost always stems from a few common problems. An employee may feel their co-​worker has harassed or insulted them because of their gender, age or behavior. Other times, employees will disagree about responsibility for a project outcome.

Negotiate an Acceptable Resolution

Once each employee has stated the nature of the conflict from their perspective, review the situation verbally. To be a good team leader, keep the goal of finding a resolution in mind at all times.

As Steve Sisler advises in this Manage Smarter podcast, managers must hold each employee accountable. If a company policy has been violated, now is the time to remind employees of the rules.

If you are conflict-​avoidant, understand this detail about yourself. Believe in your value and your right to insist on the proper workplace behavior to reduce conflict.

The next step is to ask them to state the perfect resolution. From there, they must start to compromise until a middle ground becomes apparent.

The Role of the Manager

Navigating office politics ranked at the bottom of a list of skills sales managers claimed they need for success (44%). Who can blame them? Conflict resolution to achieve good team dynamics takes time and energy.

Sometimes conflicts can feel petty, such as complaints about a co-worker’s tendency to park in a reserved space. Of course, your team members should be mature enough to handle these issues on their own.

If you are naturally conflict-​avoidant, you are even less inclined to want to handle these issues. Don't let that tendency stop you from addressing the problem. Believe in your value and address conflict to restore team productivity. 

Failing to do so threatens your ability to be a good team leader. Even worse, your team will suffer as a result of your inaction. In the absence of a strong leadership presence, the office bully will ramp up their efforts to intimidate co-workers.

Setting the Example

Each employee has their own style of handling conflict. To be a good team leader, understand your style and that of your employees. Work to find an acceptable resolution and return the focus to ongoing team projects.

By setting the example, you show employees how to handle future conflicts on their own.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.