Conflict is an essential part of any team or organization. It’s how we respond to and resolve conflict that determines its effectiveness as a catalyst for collaboration. In a healthy team, members are willing to give and take so that the whole group benefits. However, in most cases, people are not used to resolving conflicts or they feel uncomfortable expressing their views. As a result, they drop their disagreement or remain silent until things blow up again. If unresolved conflict can destroy teams from the inside out by creating resentment, mistrust, and insecurity among members. Conflicts are normal but have to be dealt with effectively or they’ll eat away at your team from the inside. Here we will discuss the 4 types of conflict and how to solve them effectively:
Task conflict is when team members disagree over what they should do. It’s not personal and has nothing to do with the people involved. People might disagree over whether to go for the big account or focus on the small ones. Or they could argue over the best approach to a project. Task conflict is the most common type of conflict. It’s often easy to solve, so don’t let it brew for too long. When someone brings up a task conflict, ask the person what he or she thinks the solution is. If you’re unsure, you can ask the person to explain his or her thinking. For example, say one team member suggests sending out a monthly email to customers and another prefers to send a quarterly newsletter. You might ask, “What are we trying to accomplish with each communication?” That may lead to a discussion that reveals the differences in company philosophy. With that understanding, you can move forward with the decision.
Relationship conflict happens when people have different ideas about how they should work together. Relationship conflict can be difficult to resolve because these are the people you spend the most time with. You may spend more time at work than with your significant other or family. So you want to be careful not to exacerbate the situation by bringing up hot-button issues that damage the relationship even more. When you feel that relationship conflict is brewing, try to bring in other team members. Relationship conflict can often be reduced when you get other members involved in solving the issue. It’s important, though, that you ask other team members to stay focused on the issue at hand, rather than adding fuel to the fire with their own feelings or opinions.
Personality conflict is when people have fundamentally different styles of interacting with others. These types of conflicts can be very difficult to resolve because they often get expressed in terms of personality traits, which people tend to hold close to their hearts. You can sometimes reduce a personality conflict by raising it during a team meeting, especially if you’ve noticed it happening more than once. By bringing up the issue during a meeting, you can ensure that you don’t vilify one person or make the situation worse. However, you may want to bring up the issue outside the meeting room if it’s a serious conflict that is causing problems for the team. In that case, try to approach the person privately and ask if there’s a problem or if you can help.
A decision-making conflict happens when the team has to make a decision but can’t reach a consensus. Instead of going with a majority vote, you could try to reach a consensus, which means that everyone agrees with the decision. However, reaching a consensus can be difficult, especially in times of disagreement. That’s why many organizations use a structured decision-making process to increase the chances of reaching a consensus. There are many decision-making processes available, but they all have three things in common: They include all the key stakeholders, they include a way to gauge the level of agreement, and they help people move forward.
Conflict can be healthy and can help a team reach a new level of collaboration if handled effectively. To do so, you need to understand the different types of conflict and how to solve them effectively. When you’re able to recognize the type of conflict that is happening, it’s easier to work through it. From there, you can come up with solutions that meet everyone’s needs and help the team move forward.