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Patrick Dwyer of NewEdge Wealth on how to handle conflict between team members.

Nobody likes having to extinguish a confrontation between several people. Doing so can throw a person in the middle of the drama, potentially smudging their own reputation. However, it is almost impossible for a leader to ignore pending conflicts between team members. Not only does the work and business suffer from this lack of cohesion, but other employees will suffer as well. It’s hard to focus in a workplace that has tension boiling.


Unresolved conflicts often lead to major fights and an uneasy atmosphere in the workplace. Therefore, it is a leader’s job to alleviate problems between team members so that everyone is back on one the same page. Here are some ways for leaders to handle conflict that transpires between their team members.


Get the Whole Story

A person’s suspicions should be retained and withheld until they get the whole story. There are always 3 sides to a story. For example, there is one person’s side, the other person’s side, and then there is the objective truth. Although both people might be telling the truth, they may be using words that portray the situation differently. Thus, it’s always wise for a person to wait until they’ve gotten the full story before addressing team members about the issue.


Be Objective

When assessing a conflict, objectivity is important as it allows for a more authentic understanding. A person should not give into any personal biases when evaluating the actions of their peers. Doing so shows a level of disingenuous intellectual honesty. As a result, it also breaks down the trust team members have because they may feel that their side is being unfairly considered. Essentially, it’s vital to not play favorites.


Set Clear Ground Rules

To minimize conflict in the first place, clear ground rules should be established. This acts as a preventative measure for conflict and also a standard for everyone to uphold. If anyone breaks a rule, then they will bear the consequences.


Acknowledge Their Value

It’s important for every team member to feel as though they add value to the team. Every member’s efforts should be acknowledged specifically so boost colleague and peer morale. Making sure that everyone’s value is known will reduce the belief that one must compete for their spot, thereby limiting some kinds of unnecessary conflict.