Making a positive contribution to team development
Where you have people working together, sooner or later you will have conflict. Sometimes it will have a very real basis - for example differences in values or approach, or differences in interest (some people may be seeking to benefit at other people's expense). In other cases, there will be no actual underlying conflict but due to misunderstanding or miscommunication, tensions may have arisen that lead to significant problems. Such conflicts can arise between individuals within their own teams, between individuals across differing teams or even between whole teams.
A very common response is, unfortunately, not a very helpful one - namely to pretend that the conflict does not exist. Many people adopt the mistaken view that it is best to ignore a conflict and it will die down or work itself out. While this can happen in some circumstances, this is a dangerous strategy as it means that small conflicts can escalate because they were not dealt with in the early stages. Also, a reluctance to deal with minor conflicts can mean that the team feels uneasy and uncertain when it comes to dealing with major conflicts. In this way, it is very easy for a team culture to develop in which conflict issues are swept under the carpet.
Sometimes conflict situations are oversimplified. Some people just boil them down to 'a clash of personalities'. However, the situation is normally far more complex than this.
Unfortunately, it is often the case that attempts at conflict resolution by individuals who do not have the required knowledge, skills or experience can be very counterproductive, if not disastrous. In many cases, conflict issues are therefore best tackled with the aid of an external facilitator. A skilled and experienced facilitator can help to identify underlying conflicts, analyse their implications for the team or staff group concerned and help to develop a plan of action for resolving the conflict as far as possible and, where such resolution is not possible, developing strategies for minimising its impact. A consultant skilled and experienced in conflict resolution can help to defuse volatile situations and lay the foundations for resolving whatever difficulties have led to the conflict.
If you feel that Avenue Consulting can help you with issues relating to conflict resolution and team development, please contact us to discuss your requirements.
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