How to manage team conflicts

    We are different, and we often have conflicts - small and serious. The bad news: to avoid conflicts at work will not work. Good: conflicts can be managed. The ability to negotiate and communicate their thoughts to people in their language is a very useful skill . It helps to save power and achieve their goals.

    What conflicts are there in companies? How to recognize conflicts and manage them? We are sorting out with Svetlana Gonchar, a consultant in organizational business development with an IT experience of more than 16 years.

    There are seven levels of conflict in organizations. Not everything can be affected, not everyone can be resolved. But if you know the essence of the conflict and understand why it happens, you will be able to experience less stress in unpleasant situations and solve problems so that all parties will benefit.

    Concept conflict

    This is when by the same word or phrase different people imply something of their own - due to different upbringing, life experience, context or mood. Conflicts of concepts arise from strangers and from long-established teams. Misunderstanding can lead to problems - small and large.

    Example : I made a website, the customer was satisfied. He suggested only to quickly add one button. I thought: once I liked everything, I will do it on my own, I will not torment you with questions. In addition, he is constantly busy. I added a button, I showed it to the customer, but he says: “I didn’t imagine it at all, and it should not be here!”

    What should I do?It’s impossible to blame someone for one thing: the customer was in a hurry and did not give details, the developer was afraid to seem annoying and did not specify anything. The second will have to redo the work - there is no other way out.

    Preventing such a conflict in the future is easy: before you agree, specify what the interlocutor has in mind. Make sure you understand him correctly. You can use the phrase: "Do I understand correctly ...", "You mean that ....", "I have a silly question for you, but I still want to clarify."

    If you were convinced that you understood each other correctly, but the problems did not disappear, then you have a different level of conflict.

    Conflict of perception of reality

    We subjectively evaluate not only words, but also events. The inability to separate the fact (what happened) from the interpretation (as someone relates to this) often leads to conflicts or aggravates them.

    Example: I am a developer. I rolled out a new feature, and because of it, after the release, a part of the functionality of the product became unavailable. A colleague writes to me: “Nothing works because of you, you broke everything!”

    What should I do? Separate the facts from the interpretation, and analyze only the facts. In this case, the fact is that such and such functionality has broken down, the interpretation is all flawed, nothing works. A colleague could interpret your mistake differently: “You have such a cool new feature, but it seems that something has broken because of it”.

    To translate the conflict into a constructive course, concentrate on the facts and operate only with them: “Yes, I broke this and that. It will take half a day to fix it. ”

    Do not get personal and do not argue with the interlocutor about his reaction. Stress you will increase, but the problem will not be solved.

    Conflict of roles and functions

    Employees may well understand the global goal of the company, but their interests will not always coincide. For example, the sales department needs a new version of the product to be released as soon as possible. For developers and testers, the main thing is quality. Companies are important and fast results, and long-term. It is difficult to come up with a plan that takes into account the interests of all. So there is a conflict of roles and functions.

    It can affect two people, or maybe whole departments. Such conflicts are common in growing companies, where the structure is not settled and the work processes are poorly aligned.

    Example: I work as a tester in a startupwhich has recently opened. I found a lot of bugs in the application, and the release will be in two days. By this time, fix everything just will not work. The project manager is new to us. He says: “We need to release, as we had planned, we cannot postpone the deadline, otherwise we will fail the customer.”

    What to do? It’s good if developers, testers and a manager have developed a bug ranking system in advance and you know with which bugs you can release a product, and with which you can’t. Then it will remain to remove critical errors, and others to correct in the next release.

    If you do not agree on the shore, it is in your power to warn the manager that there are a lot of bugs. Explain what the negative consequences may be, if not delay the release. If he does decide to release the product, it will be his responsibility.

    After the release, suggest building a system for ranking bugs in order to avoid such conflicts in the future.

    Functional style conflict

    People have different plans and tasks. For example, according to one of the classifications of approaches to work, there are tactics, and there are strategists. Tactics, it is important to know what tasks and in what sequence to perform in order to arrive at a goal. Strategists focus on the future, and they don’t need to paint every step on the way to the goal in detail. It is very difficult to interact with people with different styles. Tactics think that strategists are flying in the clouds. Strategists are sure that tactics think about trifles and do not see the big picture. At the same time, everyone is capable of producing good results.

    It is convenient to work with self-similar ones: you understand your colleagues perfectly well and do not experience stress when you do something together. Interacting with people of another style is not so pleasant, and sometimes simply unbearable. But it is they who can develop your idea, come up with something completely new - to be a “fresh look” that helps to solve problems effectively. So you need to be able to negotiate with them too.

    Example: I am a beginner team leader, for the first time I lead a team. Marked all the main goal and gave tasks. Someone enthusiastically took up work, and someone was unhappy: we need details, why we perform each task. I do not understand this approach. We are adults, we can decide for ourselves what to do, when and how. ”

    What to do?Find out from employees what details they lack for work, and explain why each task is needed. Observe what work they are more comfortable to do. Someone starts to burn out, if there are no quick results. Someone can work for a long time for the future. Try to make everyone feel useful. The Ideal Leader book will help you learn about leadership styles .

    The conflict between democracy and dictatorship

    It happens that managers make decisions, and then they see that employees do not carry them out. This may be due to the fact that there was no democracy when making a decision (the head did not consult with anyone), and when implementing - the dictatorship (the head does not introduce changes, does not require reporting on implementation).

    Example: I am a novice manager . I decided that the developers in my team would do well a couple of days a month to work in pairs: one writes code, another looks, asks questions and corrects, and then they change. He told about his decision to employees. No one is clearly expressing discontent, but I have never seen anyone do a pair of programming.

    What to do?Go back a step. Remember why you made this decision. What problem need to be solved? What are your goals for implementing pair programming? For example, you need to improve the quality of the code.

    Become a Democrat: Gather a short meeting and check with staff. Ask what they are willing to do to increase the quality of the code. People will share their ideas, and together you will come to a decision. Perhaps it will be even better than what you took alone. Employees will be ready to perform it, because it is common.

    After the decision is made, become a dictator: implement changes without delay and control that ideas are realized.

    Goal conflict

    This is when two people want different things. Conflicts of objectives occur less frequently than those listed above, and it is much more difficult to resolve them.

    Example: I work in a company where there is an opportunity to change the project - with the consent of the manager. I burned out , I can’t work on the current project anymore, I want to leave for another. Manager against: persuades to stay, because I have no one to replace. I don’t want to leave the company, to spoil relations with the manager, either.

    What to do? In conflicts of purpose, the main thing is to learn to understand that everyone has the right to his or her point of view and to respect the opinions of others. The manager has his own truth: he does not want to let you go, because he is afraid that the project will suffer because of your care, and the company will lose money.

    How to resolve the conflict with minimal losses for yourself and for business? Together with the manager, make sure that the project continues to work without you. Offer to take the team a new person, whom you teach everything you need to work. Or transfer your knowledge to one of those who are already with you in the team. It will take time - but you will also win (keep good relations with the manager and get a new project), and the company (the project you leave will not suffer).

    Value conflict

    This is when a person's values ​​go against the values ​​of a team or company. Such a conflict very quickly becomes visible.

    Example: I have come to a new team. There are constantly rushing to tasks, even the management doesn’t care about the quality. The main thing is to work fast. My colleagues are happy with everything, but I want to make a quality product and not hurry anywhere. Nobody approves my approach here, I cannot convince anyone.

    What to do? It is impossible to resolve the conflict of values ​​so that everyone will win. You can continue to work in this team, but stress will accumulate, and sooner or later you will quit.

    In such a situation, we advise you to concentrate on finding a new job that will meet your values.

    Those who work with people cannot avoid conflicts. Fearing and avoiding them is not worth it - much better to be able to manage them.

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