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From Individual to Teams: Tools to Overcome Workplace Conflicts

by Julie Miles / May 28, 2024

Workplace conflicts are a natural side effect of bringing together people with different talents and opinions. For every problem, there are several solutions. In every group, more than one person may want to take the lead. For every challenge, some may try to shift responsibility or blame. A good leader learns to recognize the root of each conflict, then uses the tools at their command to resolve conflicts and prevent them from recurring in the future.

While some people are natural conflict resolution diplomats, having the right toolkit is essential for equipping an organization to tackle individual and team conflicts with tact and grace. In fact, implementing the right conflict resolution tools can often provide both the insights and structure to prevent conflicts from rising to the surface in the first place.

Let’s take a closer look at why workplace conflicts occur and how to master them to achieve a harmonious and productive team.

 

The Four Types of Workplace Conflicts

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, there are four types of workplace conflicts that are universal across industries, countries, and cultures. These relate to the root of workplace conflicts. Knowing the type of conflict you are dealing with can also grant insight into the best path for resolution.

Individual Conflicts

In an individual conflict, one person is the source of discontent. Perhaps they are surly and difficult to work with. Perhaps they take pride in playing “devil’s advocate” and challenge everyone else’s ideas to find the flaws. Or they may have just never meshed with the team and seem to always be a point of friction.

Individual conflicts must be handled delicately to prevent the situation from evolving into shunning, workplace bullying, or scapegoating where all negative things are blamed on the one difficult person. Often, one-on-one coaching is the ideal resolution, helping that one person reduce the tension they cause in the group without laying blame. You never know if that one person has troubles outside of work that might be exacerbating the situation.

Dyad Conflicts

Dyad conflicts occur when two people are butting heads. These conflicts are distinct because, often, the rest of the team avoids taking sides. It’s important to identify whether a dyad conflict is based on personal dislike or a disagreement about tasks and decisions.

If personal, two people with a strong antipathy should be separated. However, a team can be made stronger if it includes two people who always represent two sides of a possible decision – as long as they can come together once the decision is made.

Subgroup Conflicts

Subgroup conflicts are the most dangerous, and occur when the team breaks up into factions or cliques to conflict with each other. Subgroup conflicts are the most likely to result in a hostile “us vs them” opposition where both teams will disregard and remain hostile to each other. Voting cannot balance the situation and each side will feel slighted when decisions don’t go in their favor.

The answer to subgroup conflicts is often to introduce additional options not represented by either faction. This weakens their deadlock and reintroduces individual opinion when weighing the pros and cons for a wider variety of options.

Team-Wide Conflicts

Team-wide conflicts or “the blame game” are the rarest form, and tend to occur after the team experiences a failure or major setback. Each person is seeking to attribute blame somewhere other than themselves and everyone is mad. This type of conflict is typically best resolved when leadership shifts the conversation from “what went wrong” to “how to succeed from here.”

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Your Conflict Resolution Toolkit

The best way to address and prevent workplace conflict is a toolkit that empowers each member through feedback, recognition, and integrated management. When employees have a route to express concerns, receive guidance, and feel recognized for their hard work on a regular basis, it is far less likely that conflicts will arise and easier to overcome conflicts that form.

The Share & Perform Solution from iSolved

The Share & Perform Solution from isolved is an HR software platform that provides the toolkit business leaders need to keep tabs on employee performance and provide a 360 degree view of how effectively team members are working together.

Rewards and Recognition

Conflicts are less likely to arise when each person feels that their contributions are valued. The Share & Perform tools for rewards and recognitions allow team members to build up points when they collaborate, share, and help one another. These points earn recognition and can even be connected to prizes and company awards.

Flexible Performance Reviews

Hold data-driven performance reviews when they are needed with flexible cycles that can be tailored to the needs of the organization. Let employees know how they are doing and use this as an opportunity to share some one-on-one, two-directional feedback regarding conflict situations.

360 Feedback

360 feedback allows you to review how an employee is interacting with everyone around them. Coworkers, direct reports, and even vendors or customers who interact with an employee can give their perspective. This allows you to see an employee’s performance from every direction and it will often give context to an isolated conflict.

Goal Setting and Monitoring

Focusing your team on shared and monitored goals can help reduce the impact of interpersonal conflicts and emphasize the importance of shared decision-making. Create workstreams attached to goals that keep your entire team pointed in the right direction.

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Tackle a Variety of Corporate Challenges with Share & Perform

The Share & Perform feature from isolved can do more than resolve conflicts. It can help you master a wide range of challenges faced by companies today. 

Energizing Company Culture

Reconnect with your workforce through a combination of incentives, success-tracking, and gamified leaderboards that breathe new enthusiasm into the workflow.

Increasing Operational Efficiency and Compliance

Use goal tracking and attentive reviews to improve the overall efficiency of each department and ensure everyone is staying on their game to maintain compliance standards.

Connecting Virtual Teams

Connective company software is essential for keeping virtual teams in the loop. With digital performance tracking and automated reward systems, your virtual teams will be as connected as those in the office.

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Talented professionals want to join a well-run ship. Guided by the right organizational software, it will be clear to top talent that your team is the one to join, and incentive programs will keep your best talent engaged.

Supporting Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions can be challenging. Share & Perform features can help maintain cohesion in your team and fold both sets of staff together under the same goal setting and reward system.

Managing Rapid Growth

In times of rapid growth, cohesion is essential. This toolkit can help keep your teams on-track even during a major hiring wave and project expansion.

 

Unlock Your Workforce Potential with Platinum Group

Platinum Group is a human capital management resource with solutions to help you streamline operations so you'll have time to manage your business. No matter which division you work with: Payroll/HR or Accounting, our team is built upon a foundation of support, service, camaraderie and collaboration that we share both in-house and with our wonderful clients. Click here for our full library of Guides, Independent Reports, and HCM Tools. For more information about Platinum Group, or to schedule a demo of isolved, please visit our website.

Tags: Organizational Strengths Employee Engagement Company Growth teams proactive business

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Julie Miles

Julie Miles

Julie’s passion is to act as a liaison between the Platinum team, their wonderful clients, and the community, striving to tell their stories and make connections.

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