March’s Article

How to manage conflicts inside your
A group is usually composed by different people,






backgrounds and opinions. Therefor, it is natural the
occurrence of divergent ideas, which in itself is not
bad. In fact the best ideas occur when different
perspectives meet, and that´s one of the major
advantages of working in group. A group is functional when the conflicts enable the
maximization of its performance. However when a conflict proceeds to a level that disrupts
the group and undermines the achievement of its goals, the group becomes dysfunctional.
Therefore, the key to have an effective group is in its management.
The leader plays a fundamental role in managing possible conflicts that arise inside the group.
First of all, a leader should retain two main ideas: remain impartial and facilitate
understanding among the group members.
Preventing Conflicts
Having the two previous ideas in mind, you should first develop ways of preventing conflicts. In
this matter, creating rules that incorporate attitudes that the group will allow or prohibit can
be a good idea. By this way, when conflicts arise you can refer the rules and bring back your
team to the guideline.
Another strategy that you should adopt is designing a team agreement on how the group will
resolve conflict if it does occur. This will benefit the group because the members will get focus
on good practices and it will prepare them to the resolution of an eventual conflict.
Additionally, goals should be communicated, because many conflicts arise from goal
misalignment. If that’s clear for everyone, many problems may be avoided in the future.
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Finally, you should keep in your mind some ideas that we advise you to follow: instill a culture
in your group where people are open, the respect is fundamental and the team issues are kept
inside it, encourage different points of view and deal with the conflict immediately.
Managing Conflicts
Besides all your efforts, conflicts will arise even if you have tried hard to prevent them. In
those situations your role is to facilitate conflict’s resolution. It’s difficult and there’s no a
magical formula, because every situation has its own specifications. Let´s list the process that
we advise you to follow:

Assure that every team member knows that the goal is to resolve the conflict;


Make sure all of them want to resolve it;


Everyone must see the problem as mutual, and not a personal issue like win or lose;


Discuss the possible reasons for the conflict;


Create solutions options;


Involved parties must agree on which solution is most appropriate;


Implement the option that has been chosen;


Evaluate the success or failure of the solution;


Celebrate or back to step VI.

"As a team leader, one must realize the paradox that surrounds conflict. The team needs to
embrace conflict as a means of generating and evaluating ideas. While at the same time, it
must shy away from it to prevent anger, frustration, or alienation. The biggest challenge for
the team leader is figuring out how to balance these two forces"
Erich Brockman [Professor on the faculty of the Management department at the University of
New Orleans-Lakefront]

FEP Finance Club,
March, 2013

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