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The Pivotal Role of Intragroup Trust”.

What Should a Team Leader Do To Resolve Conflict and Promote Team Performance?[edit]

Team leaders have the responsibility of resolving conflict within their teams. There are things that team leaders can do to make a team where conflict resolution occurs naturally. One thing that team leaders can do in their groups to resolve conflict is to set up team rules from the outset. As discussed earlier, such team rules can guide team members to resolve conflict between themselves, rather than going to the leader to resolve all conflict. Team leaders should foster an environment in their teams that is safe and positive. Such an environment will help foster communication and will help team members to resolve conflicts. Team leaders can also provide retreats and other activities away from the office that will help to build team unity and trust. These factors will also strengthen a team and help to avoid negative conflict before it begins.

Team leaders can also strictly monitor performance issues in their group. Performance issues that go unresolved create relationship conflict and a lack of motivation and morale. Performance issues in individual team members must be addressed immediately in order to avoid issues in the group. This doesn’t mean that team leaders always need to eliminate poor performing team members immediately. Sometimes it is the responsibility of the team leader to provide extra training to team members when they’re struggling, to help them meet expectations. When attitudes need to be changed, awareness can be brought to how a team member’s attitude negatively affects the team and invitations can be given for attitudes to improve.

In this process it is vital for the team leader to remember that accountability must be held with team members. Without accountability in a team, focus on the goal will not occur and teams won’t produce desired outcomes. Accountability promotes achievement and helps team members to reach their potential. A lack of accountability can produce great task conflict and relationship conflict. Full accountability can help produce a feeling of fulfillment and achievement and teams will achieve their optimal performance.

How Can a Team Member Resolve a Conflict with the Team Leader?[edit]

If a team member has a conflict with the team leader, the first step is to identify the type of conflict. If the conflict relates to the goal of the team, then it would appear that the goal is not clear. The conflict can also relate to the processes being used by the team. In either situation, the team member can bring up the issue in a group meeting. Ask that the goal be clarified so that all team members understand what it is. If processes were never discussed and decided on by the team, now would be an appropriate time to do so. If the team leader does not want to discuss these issues in a team meeting, the team member should approach the leader separately to discuss. The team member should explain the issue and why the current situation is not working. Again, ask that the team be allowed to discuss these issues.

If the conflict is interpersonal between the team leader and a team member, the issue should be discussed privately between the two. The team member should go to the leader and explain that there appears to be conflict and that he or she would like to resolve it. LaFasto and Larson outline an approach that can be used to resolve conflict called the Connect Model. The steps involved in the model are as follows:

  1. Commit to the relationship.
  2. Optimize safety.
  3. Narrow to one issue.
  4. Neutralize defensiveness.
  5. Explain and echo.
  6. Change one behavior each.
  7. Track it!