Conflict in the workplace. A guide to leading team unity and effectiveness.

Advice / Change and Organization

Conflict in the workplace. A guide to leading team unity and effectiveness.
Brian V Moore , Business Consultant, South Africa

A how-to guide for employees to manage workplace conflict.

Conflict in the workplace.
A guide to leading team unity and effectiveness.

Brian V Moore - 9th December 2010.

Our family growth, our livelihood and chances of our personal growth are all dependent on our ability to work with and influence people. Professional teams require professional teamwork and respect.

It is a fact that most of us spend more hours awake with our team mates – than we spend with our families. We must ensure that we spend our time in the best possible way.

It is natural that some conflict will be present within teams. The frequency and the level of conflict is determined by:-
1. Outside influences – and how we handle them.
2. Ourselves and how we act.

Many of us have children and battle to “control” them. The moment we walk away they will revert to the previous behaviour. These challenges arise because we do not set boundaries and principles, with our children, and then manage them together – as a family. This limits communication and breaks down respect.

The same applies to the workplace. Team members that do not have good communication/ relationship skills who work in teams without a set of team chosen behavioural guidelines will be in conflict. Issues that can cause the challenges include:-
1. Disrespect
2. Prejudice
3. Poor communications
4. A lack of teamwork
5. Limited professionalism
6. Personality conflicts
7. Bullying

When there is conflict everyone is affected. Sadly, this will often hurt your family and friends, as well.

The greatest challenge to preventing conflict, or resolving conflict is that most people in the workplace will keep quiet – when it counts. And spend their time complaining to people who can do nothing about it.

A Zulu proverb, “Ingane 'ngakhali 'fela 'mbelekweni.” A child who does not cry will die on its mothers back.

Those that lead conflict are often able to say what they want to say, when they want to say it – and are oblivious to the feelings of the rest of the team. This gives these individuals immense unfair power.

Those of us who keep quiet – elect bullies to their positions of power, through our silence.

10 Steps to leading a powerful, productive and respectful team.
1. Know yourself and know your team. Develop your communication, relationship skills and emotional intelligence.
2. Operate from the principles:-
1. “At the level of respect all people are equal.” Brian and Arthie Moore, 2001.
2. “We all Add to each other.”
3. Become a neighbour in the African sense – Zulu – Omakhelwana – Builders for each other. Always look to build and never to bring a person down - in anyway. No sarcasm, swearing, gossiping, back stabbing, racism or belittling.
4. Speak up – with respect. Communicate openly and clearly – honour the good in others and stop the negative speak – when it happens!
5. Never communicate interpersonal challenges in front of others. Speak to the person privately – you may find out that you are the actual cause of the challenge.
6. Work with the entire team to set up a code of conduct which must include the behaviour and values that you seek, and hose actions that are not acceptable in your team.
7. Ensure that all team members take action through an equal right to manage their behaviour and that of their peers, managers and leaders.
8. Honour those who empower, unite and grow the team.
9. Know your team mates – there is far more to people than their CV shows.
10. Get to know, understand and respect diversity within your team, company and clients – you will find opportunities and solutions to meet any challenge!

You may believe that you are “not a leader.” Luckily for you – everyone is a leader. Be it in a negative or positive fashion.

If you believe that you cannot put such a process together, we would be happy to present our Celebrating Humanity Team Conflict programme to your team. We have had great results over the past 15 years.

Courses to attend.
1. Participative Diversity management training – such as the Celebrating Humanity Foundation. (Includes Personality types, communication styles, diversity and relationship skills.)
2. Emotional Intelligence Training.
3. Leadership Training.

About the Celebrating Humanity International Team

The highly recognised Celebrating Humanity team of Brian and Arthie Moore are multilingual, multi-diverse and highly experienced in team building and team conflict resolution. Brian is recognised as the former peacemaker on the Dusi Canoe Marathon and has received an award from Archbishop Desmond Tutu for his work. Arthie, an inspirational woman - was the Deputy President of the South African Forum for the Abused at 17 years of age and has been recognised by Graca Machel Mandela for developing leadership amongst woman.


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Other Views by this Author: Traditional Diversity Training vs Celebrating Humanity | Learning Styles and Communications | Ways we learn and communicate | Team Conflict Resolution

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