One of the greatest causes of conflict in teams stems from the fact that we are all different. At first we can overlook these differences and it may seem that all will be well. However, as time goes on, these differences can begin to cause tension between people. The difference may be in attitudes, personalities, work style, work pace or priorities.
If we are to work effectively with team members who are very different to us we need to:
Celebrate and not devalue people’s traits because they are different to yours. For example, if you are someone who makes decisions quickly and on the go, it is important to value those in the team who need time to think about it and get all the facts. Teams need both.
In the midst of the differences, identify, discuss and value areas of similarity and agreement.
Instead of letting differences divide relationships, place value on the relationship itself rather than the issues.
Communicate Areas of Frustration
Often team members do not share their areas of frustration and just smile at each other in a “culture of niceness”. In the end this does not work as tensions festerand one day may explode. It is important to be authentic and share concerns in a constructive way.
Seek Practical Ways of Improving the Relationship
The problems won’t just go away. There needs to be some practical plans in place and actions taken to make the working relationship more effective.
Is there someone in your team that you are struggling to work with?
What are the things that they do that are causing tension between you?
Are you doing anything to contribute to this tension?
What do they do well?
What things do you have in common?
Are you prepared to share these thoughts with them?