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Dear Work Therapist - How to address conflicts in

Dear Work Therapist,

Trust you're doing well and thanks always for sharing detailed previous insights which helped us really overcome and grow stronger as team.

The post for today is regarding internal conflicts inside a team. I think there is a common fear with team that the internal conflict inside a team impacts it's performance for short period and even in long run. There has been also a tendency that people don't like to discuss too much about past conflicts as there is again a fear it might lead a difficult situation. There has been a debate also regarding whether people involved or the agenda was the major reason of such conflicts.

It would be great if you share your suggestions for a team to handle such conflicts and the best way to move forward.

Looking forward to hear from you.

Kind Regards,

Never say Die Team Member


Dear, Never say die team member,

What I'm hearing you say, is that the relationships between teammates matters. If so, I think you're right. From Atlassian-sponsored research as well as third party studies, we know that team health matters more than "budget" or specific "superstar individuals." We don't often think to address the openness and emotional wellbeing of a team, but they are highly correlated with performance.

When surveying teams that believe they are high-performing, we might notice that those teams share information and ideas readily with each other. And to obtain that kind of culture, you need to practice vulnerability. That will take time, but communicating regularly (e.g. through daily/weekly standups) and talking not just about deliverables but also making room for letting people share parts of themselves (e.g. ice breakers at the start of meetings), will build up that culture.

If you're looking for a meeting that will accelerate building that culture, I suggest running a Health Monitor, from the Atlassian Team Playbook. In that Play, teammates vote on aspects of their team health and then discuss the areas they want to dig into. Of course, it takes a lot of psychological safety to be honest in this type of discussion, but if you keep running the Health Monitor (e.g. every week, month, or quarter), over time you and your teammates will feel more comfortable discussing issues with each other.

Whatever you do, I find that taking out time to explicitly discuss conflict (in private or out in the open) gives people extra confidence to speak up. Sometimes, that explicit permission is what prompts folks to share more than they usually do.

Good luck!


PS - I'm with you on your name. I think that if there is a willingness to improve relationships, then over time, however small, there will definitely be progress. 

Like # people like this
Kishan Sharma Community Leader Oct 15, 2021

Good question @Suvradip Paul and great answer @Christine P_ Dela Rosa 

Sometimes, if there is an ego clash between the team members, conflict has to happen one way or the other, it gets difficult at times to manage such cases. Any suggestions on how managers or the individuals should take care of such scenario ?

Like # people like this

Good question @Suvradip Paul  @Christine P_ Dela Rosa 

As a manager, I try to look at the type of conflict it is and that helps dictate my approach, for example: 


- Members of a team disagree on a new process and believe that their variant is the better option.

I would consider this to be a potentially positive conflict because it's rooted in wanting to improve things collectively, there is just a disagreement or potential misunderstanding here. In this instance, I would run a call, workshop or some collaborative setup that is moderated to hear all sides and try to come to a collective agreement. Worst case is that we may not get an agreement but there is a deeper understanding of individual positions and we can build from there. 

Members of a team don't like each other or believe someone is not pulling their weight etc 

This is much more difficult to handle because it can spill over into other work relationships so I prefer to be much more direct with the individuals and if needed mediate a direct chat to figure out what is going on 

There are of course a heap more scenarios but they are the most common in my experience! 



Like # people like this
Alexey Rising Star Oct 19, 2021

when in doubt, just start with the '5 why' method. Try to pull the real cause and then collectively find a solution. 

In my experience can something really silly like: we start with 'he is just a bad person, we do not want him in our team' and end with something like 'cuz he does not turn off the lights in a toilet'. I went to a DIY store and bought a movement sensor for 15$, hooked up and everyone happy =) 

Like # people like this
Fabian Lim Community Leader Oct 23, 2021

Great topic and very thoughtful answers. Thanks for sharing.

M Amine Community Leader Nov 22, 2021

Totaly agree. Nice topic and thank you for the answers


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