1.2 - Identify possible barriers to effective team working 

Conflict

In any team there will be a difference of opinion and this can be beneficial as it provides the building blocks to ideas for the team and the organisation as a whole. At the same time these opinions do raise the emotions and feelings of the team players. There arises conflict within the group that either improves the team's performance or the breaks down of the team and consequently hampering the achievement of the organisations goal.

What can the manager do?

Stage 1 - admit it is happening 

  • Acknowledge the conflict – The conflict has to be acknowledged before it can be managed and resolved. It is very easy to ignore the first signs of conflict. We might think it is petty or it is difficult work out if this is actual conflict and not just a heated discussion that can help teams work through problems. It can be useful to discuss it with other team members or get an external perspective. Once the team recognises the issue, it can begin to work on how to get through it. 

  • Discuss the impact – As a team, discuss the impact the conflict is having on team dynamics and performance.

  • Try to gain an agreement to working it out with all team members but if necessary, make it clear you have expectations that it will be sorted out without any further impact on performance. 

 

Stage 2 - explore the situation 

  • Aim to gain clarity on peoples perspective of the situation - use TED questions (Tell me..., Explain to me..., Describe to me...) and objective language (the situation from your perspective) 

  • Listen - try not to jump to conclusions about the situation 

Stage 3 - Find common ground 

  • Try to establish things that are agreed on rather then where there is disagreement first. 

Stage 4 - Establish what they want

  • Find out what each party wants to happen. This might be the same thing in which case there is an agreement.

  • If the requests are contradictory, explore alternatives that meet the same outcome.

Stage 5 - Implement and monitor

  • Agree the actions with time frames and monitor the impact.

  • Maintain your expectations that performance is not affected.

Not Team Players

Some workers may not function well as part of a team, preferring to work on their own. If your work environment requires working as a team to accomplish a task. They may not see themselves as part of a team or not value the team. As a manager this needs to be addressed as they can have a negative impact on others and the achievement of goals.

Limited Creativity

Team members may not put their own ideas forward or share them with the team. This prevents the team from working together on development.

Only focusing on the negative 

When team members constantly focus on the negative aspects of the work or the company then team working can be negatively impacted on. This behaviour leads to unrest and de-motivation. A manager should be encouraging open discussion with a view to find out from the staff what want instead. They should then identify what can be done within their remit to resolve the issues. Staff appreciate at least some attempt to address their concerns. 

 

Unequal Participation

With some teams, it can be easy for some people to sit back and let others do most of the work. This can cause conflict, especially if the work requires everyone to ‘pull their weight’. As a result, this can have a detrimental effect on workplace morale and we as manager will need to work hard to build this back again.

A manager should ensure their is equal distribution of work and address under performance or work avoidance with the individual. 

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