Tips To Minimize Conflict Within Your Small Team

Conflict. Odds are you have heard of it – especially in a professional context. No matter the industry you are in, your business is moving at a fast pace. In just a blink of an eye, an organization may experience change after change without realizing the type of impact that change on its employees. After recently stepping into a leadership position in my own team, I have come to recognize and appreciate the relationship between change and conflict. allsynx is a technology company, which means we are rolling out new updates, new process and more almost weekly. As a training team of just 5 employees, it can be extremely overwhelming. To help minimize the pending conflict, my team has come up with several solutions.

Take a look below at what we have found works for Talent Development at allsynx . As you’re reading, keep in mind these solutions can be easily altered to fit the needs of your team. The biggest take-away message is to remember that every conflict is individual, and every individual handles conflict differently. There isn’t a magic way to rid your team or company of all conflict, but instead techniques you can use to understand its origin. Let’s take a look at the tips you can turn to, to help with that!

Task Based Conflict

The Talent Development team at allsynx utilizes a project management software called Teamwork. We operate successfully when we follow detailed task lists for larger projects. It allows the team to stay organized, for communication flow and a place for documentation to take place. It is common for a task list to contain various tasks assigned to different stakeholders. For example, our Talent Coordinator is responsible for creating all learning content, and our Content Coordinator is responsible for reviewing that work. That being said, if the Talent Coordinator is late with their work, the Content Coordinator isn’t able to start on their tasks and therefore may not hit their numbers that week. This scenario is exactly what causes Task Based Conflicts. So what is the solution here? Among my team we host a variety of meetings to communicate what each team member’s focus needs to be.

Every morning, the Talent Development hosts a 30 minute “Scrum” meeting. In this meeting, each team member has a few minutes to discuss what they worked on the day before, what they will work on that day, and any constraints they currently have. It is an opportunity to discuss the day’s priorities and for communication of task dependencies. I use this opportunity to clarify any confusion, remind team members that things are bottlenecking at them, and so on. We have found this meeting genuinely helps each employee understand the bigger picture, and how their actions are affecting others daily.

Work Style Conflict

Individuality is an amazing characteristic in a workforce! It is what drives creativity, fresh perspective and innovation. That being said, it can also be the cause of intense conflict. At a technology company like allsynx , individual work styles can range between extremes. Some employees, like me, enjoy group work and collaborative projects. On the other hand, introverted employees enjoy working alone. Some find they are more productive without external input, while others enjoy touching base with their team every step of the way. Juggling work styles can be difficult for a team, which is why conflict has the potential to slowly build.

The key to avoiding work style conflict is to create a space of mutual understanding and respect. As a leader of a team with different work styles, I suggest you create mandatory weekly meetings like Braindumps and Feedbacks. These hour long meetings are meant to be an outlet for employees to discuss any project related topic they want. In my experience, individuals who enjoy group work utilize the time to brainstorm ideas, get questions answered, and share project updates. Individuals who enjoy working alone, speak up less however have a safe and designated space to share their progress as well.

Individuality

Every employee is unique. Everyone feels things differently, has had different experiences, and is constantly changing and growing.  That being said, it’s plain to say that not everyone is going to get along with everyone else. Along those same lines, you aren’t going to like everyone you come across either – These are the facts! From your individuality, stems conflict in the workforce. A great way to ease this conflict is by setting time aside for team building. The Talent Development team at allsynx tends to do some sort of team building activity every 2-3 months. We like to try different approaches including games, reflections, and even activities to test team knowledge. This activity helps reset the team by allowing members to focus on something other than their current projects.

Leadership Style Conflict

Similar to work styles, leadership styles is a common cause of workplace conflict. Not only is every leader unique from the next, but the reactions from employees will vary. From previous experience, my direct supervisor and I have learned any leadership style can be effective, as long as team members feel psychologically safe. I recommend taking a look at ATD’s (Association for Talent Development) published articles on how to best do that. Additionally, creating some sort of leadership network could be extremely beneficial. At allsynx , Team Leads meet for an hour every Friday afternoon to “network”, or rather chat, about how the week went for us. I am relatively new to leadership, so I often bring up scenarios that caused conflict. Bringing these scenarios to the group gives me a fresh perspective on how I handled the situation. I have found from those meetings, that I have a very enthusiastic and loud leadership style. There have been things I was doing that made my team uncomfortable, and that networking opportunity helped me understand why that was happening.

As I mentioned, understanding where conflict stems from is your best defense against it. The key is awareness of an decision’s potential, then deciding if the reward is larger than the outcome. While conflict is inevitable, I hope these tips lessen the effect!

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