Conflicts within a team are like salt in food. They are an essential component of the innovation recipe. A skilled cook is the one who knows what amount of salt is necessary in every recipe. Similarly, in the team management conflicts are very necessary, it opens the way for the emergence of new ideas. A good team leader should know how to manage these conflicts, more it would be better if he finds a way to push the team players into a constructive conflict.
Conflict occurs when completely rigid attitudes are found in the same situation. Social psychology [Ref] defines an attitude as a mental state that has a dynamic influence on individuals preparing them to act in a particular way in a number of objects or events. An attitude can be deductible from the statements or responses of individuals.
Usual minds find “attack and counterattack” the easiest approach to conduct conflicts: as this approach does not require that additional effort to understand the statement of others. They just stick to their attitudes without moving, and, when they feel losing, they start chattering. Their ultimate goal is to contradict the other attitude regardless of its aptness.
Contrary to this way of behaving in a conflict, a person with positive constructive thinking is often in search of conflicts to develop new learning assets and improve his ability to convince.
Do not be afraid of the conflict when it happens in the middle of a co-creation meeting or a brainstorming session or even in a virtual meeting (not face-to-face, VoIP communication). Instead, it can be a perfect timing for diverging the thinking and get out of the usual context.
From my little experience in team management, I have learnt some tips that allowed me to overcome conflicts and turn them into creative assets. Here what I used to do when managing conflicts:
* slow down your thinking; speed up your thinking leads to losing control over the conflict management and you will be offside much faster than you think. Give yourself enough time to analyze the conflict’s recipe. Identify what were the missing ingredients to end up with a healthy meal.
* put the negative emotion out of your heart; do not be shy in showing these emotions to others involved in the conflict. Do not try to be very self-controlled in such moments. Leave your head for a while, talk to them from your heart and let your feelings get out of your deep inside. These simple tips will help to recover your composure. So your coming words will be more reasonable and constructive. Thus, you can pursue playing the game of conflict with a new mind state.
* make a snake move; don’t face nature’s forces. I mean go with the wind, do not stay in a steady state. Flexibility is the most powerful tool to use in managing conflicts. It allows you to build arguments based on the others’ arguments. This way you get a speech that works for others as well as for you.
* adopt a rapid change; try to give an image to others that you are not rigid. Let them know that your positions are very manageable, depending on the context. This change, if it is occurring in an unexpected way, will upset the game to your advantage. It will dramatically influence the other’s position in the conflict by showing how easy it is to open attitudes to fit any situation.
Ref . MICHELIK, F. (2008). La relation attitude-comportement : un état des lieux. Revue Éthique et Économique / Ethics and Economics, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 2.