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September 26, 2019

Where Does Conflict Come From?

Conflict on teams can come from many areas. Here are the three most common sources of conflict and some solutions to try if a conflict arises.

  • Environmental Conflicts

These conflicts arise from the physical workspace. Closely configured cubicles are fertile grounds for conflicts related to noise. Different preferences for music, too loud phone conversations, and annoying habits—popping gum, tapping feet on the floor, talking aloud to oneself—can turn team members into snarling combatants!

Odors are another area where conflicts arise. Strong perfumes and colognes, heavily scented flowers and air fresheners, and poor hygiene are all amplified in air-conditioned offices. Keep in mind that some people are highly allergic to certain odors, which can trigger adverse reactions.

If your team works in this kind of environment, clear guidelines for noise and scents are necessary to mitigate the potential for conflict.

  • Capabilities

Conflicts can arise over skillsets when it seems that some team members are not carrying their weight on the team. Often, additional training and coaching are necessary to resolve this type of conflict.

On the other hand, conflict also can arise if training opportunities are provided to certain people and not others. Be inclusive in offering a variety of training to your staff. See my blog post What Training Does Your Team Need?

  • Behaviors

This is the most common source of team conflict. Someone doesn’t like what someone else is doing—or not doing! The solution is to meet with each person in the conflict, ascertain the observable facts, communicate what is acceptable behavior and what is not, and establish clear expectations for going forward.

When a conflict arises, identify the source, take necessary action to remedy it before it escalates, and keep your team positively productive!

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