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Dealing With Team Conflict


We often see it as a negative thing, but without it, there would be little growth or improvement. Conflict is seen as either positive or negative because of the way it makes us feel or behave.

How we choose to handle conflict will depend not only on the type of conflict we experience but the people we are. The two most common types of conflict we see in the contact center environment are those between individuals and conflict in the team.

So, as a manager or supervisor, how do you resolve conflict within your team? Here are ten tips to help you:

  1. Help the individuals take ownership of their unproductive behavior. Don't make an excuse when one of your subordinates behaves badly.

  2. Define the team’s problem as a shared need: Let each person state their view briefly. Explore areas of disagreement for specific issues.

  3. Ask Questions:

    • What are we supposed to accomplish as a team?
    • What are each of our roles and responsibilities in accomplishing that goal?
    • Who do each of us need to get information from and when?
    • If we get into trouble, who can we ask without feeling inadequate or helpless?
    • How will we arrive at decisions?
    • What strengths do each of us bring in accomplishing our goals?
    • How are we going to make ourselves more accessible to one another?
    • Focus on issues and not on personalities: When the team is determining criteria for a solution, encourage each side to objectively explain its bottom line requirements.

    • Keep reminding the team of ground rules while generating options, such as no criticizing statements by other people until all ideas are posted.

    • Encourage everyone to listen to other points of view.

    • During the process, keep encouraging points of agreement.

    • Don't stifle new anger, but also don't dwell on it.

    • Structure resolution:

      • Identify the causes
      • Determine the criteria for a solution
      • Generate options
      • Determine possible solutions
      • Develop implementation plans
      • Review results on a regular basis; conflict won’t just go away, nor will the resolution stick unless you pay attention to it. And be sure to follow up periodically and do temperature checks with your team.