By Debbie Holden 09 Jan 2019 7 min read

How to deal with conflict in a team


With so many different personalities under one roof, conflict is bound to happen in an office. While conflict is expected, the outcome of it and ultimately, its threat to the workplace is the issue at hand.

Conflict can arise at any point – in a meeting, the office, the car showroom or the garage. And no matter where you work or what job you do, if it gets out of hand, it can be an unpleasant for the whole team if not managed correctly. The hardest form of conflict to deal with at work, however, is when you have two people on the same team who don’t see eye to eye.

Dealing with conflict in a team can be difficult to handle, particularly if it’s a large group of people. It can be detrimental to the success of your team if it’s not resolved quickly. So whether you’re involved, an onlooker, or the person managing those involved, we’ve highlighted a few tips to help resolve it, for the better of your automotive business.



Understand that conflict is natural


The first step to resolving conflict is understanding that it’s a natural occurrence for a team of people who work together for long periods of time. By recognising that there will be conflict, you’ll know what to expect when it arises. A good way of anticipating this is having some ground rules in place for your team from day one. Address what processes will be taken to address conflict before it spirals out of control. Reassure your team members that everyone’s ideas are valid and should not be disregarded.


Understand the situation

The next stage is to understand what’s happened. You’ll need to hear each member of your team out. Remember that emotions will likely run high, so you will need to work with them through the emotions to get to the root of the conflict.

Clarifying the positions of your team members can be effective when resolving conflict, as it helps the team to see the facts more objectively and with less emotion. When everyone has clearly identified their view, it’s easier to see their position/stance on the issue too.

Tip: your first meeting should involve finding a resolution that doesn’t have negative implications for the team or company. This will require their buy-in as well as yours. Put rules in place for whenever you meet together e.g. respect the other person’s views and opinions, don’t interrupt.


Understand destructive conflicts

If you aren’t working towards resolving the conflict, the situation could become more destructive. Try to resolve it as quickly and smoothly as possible before it gets out of hand. Address it immediately before it grows and festers into heated arguments during meetings etc. Discuss the issue while in the meeting, so both people can see each other’s point of view.


Take a look at the Tedx Talk below about why conflict is the number one source of pain to any team, and how you can also use it to produce innovative, creative and trasformational results:

Compromise to resolve

Compromising between two parties is ideal, to allow both the ability to use their ideas. In many cases, it’s better to combine each of the points made to allow for a solution, as it usually ends with both ending up feeling as though they have achieved something from the situation. After all, the last thing you want is for your staff to feel unheard, and start looking for a new job.


Resolve the conflict

Discuss which areas of conflict are most important for each of you to resolve. Set up meetings with those who are experiencing the conflict, with the aim of reaching a resolution without getting other team members involved. Hear both sides of the story, and do not pass judgment until you’ve heard everything. Explain the pros and cons of both ideas, so that both people can consider the opposing view.


Things to remember:

You can’t change people: While it’s important for everyone to get along at work, some people clash purely from different personalities – or if you’re in a dealership, for example, where you have outgoing, confident salespeople around you, similar qualities can easily clash too. Each person has unique ideas, and different forms of expression. Changing the way they act, feel or the views they have will only lead to resentment, and reservation on their part. Everyone should be able to express their ideas and beliefs, even if they differ.

Don’t suppress other people’s views: Keeping opposing views at bay could make matters worse. There should always be one or two people that bring up constructive criticism to suggested ideas, but nobody should be discounted, even if you think they’re disruptive.

Rely on mediation, not authority: Expect to come to an agreed resolution between yourself and all of the parties involved. Don’t push your views and opinions of what should happen on to them, otherwise they won’t learn how to resolve conflict themselves. If your colleagues expect you to step in as the boss, stress to them that although you have the authority to impose a solution, you hope you can come to an agreed solution for all parties, and that your main priority is to mediate the situation forward to a resolution.


Not working