Often times team conflicts can be a waste of time and energy, and become very discouraging and distracting for the progress of the team. When you are working and learning in a team environment you have to plan for there to be differences and issues that may arise. Establish rules for the team to adhere to and make sure all team members agree be for any problems arise. Turn destructive criticism and conflict into a constructive platform to help build an efficient work environment. "Conflict is a signal that people are making different assumptions about what has thus far gone unspoken. When that happens, conflict gives them an opportunity to articulate their assumptions and then to figure out a way to come to agreement." (Sheila Porter, J.D., Managing Conflicts in Learning Teams, 2003)
Ground Rules to Help Avoid Team Conflict
Establish what will and will not be tolerated within the group.
Set guidelines and time frames for each team member's task for the project. Keep open lines of communication, and make sure all opinions are heard and discussed with all team members. Outline the project at hand and agree on a schedule that will get the project completed successfully. Discuss and implement consequences for lack of participation and warnings that need to be given to any members not up to speed and not completing their portion of the project. Establishing the Team Rules in advance makes all members aware of what to do if and when any issues arise. In a learning environment these rules can be outlined in by using a Team Charter.
Preventing/Dissolving Team Conflicts Before They Arise
"Conflict isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Healthy and constructive conflict is a component of high functioning teams. Conflict arises from differences between people; the same differences...