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3 Steps Toward Resolving Team Conflict

Categories: Conflict, Team

by Christian Bisson

Conflicts arise on any team. It’s inevitable. What’s important is making sure they’re resolved before they grow into something bigger.

It often feels like unfamiliar territory to some, but resolver of conflicts is one of the many hats a scrum master must wear. And while there’s no singular right way to resolve conflict, I’ve found success with following steps:

Listen—actively.

Ensure those in the conflict have someone they can talk to. Once they get their feelings out, the door is open for them to act more rationally toward the other, or it gives you an opportunity to go deeper (see below).

Encourage a conversation.

It may sound simple, but a big part of conflict resolution is allowing both sides to hear one another. By default, we work to avoid conflicts and we’ll avoid the conversation that we know we should have as adults to make our conflict go away. 

As a scrum master, there’s room to suggest bringing the other party into the resolution. The worst that will happen is that the team member will refuse, giving you an opportunity to dig deeper to gain a greater understanding and then ask questions to understand what’s really going on.

Dig deep.

Even after you listen and encourage a conversation, it still may not be enough to resolve the situation. You may have to dig a bit deeper. Analyze the situation: Who initiated the conflict? In other words, who seemed to respond negatively to an event/response? That’s the first person you want to talk to. Ask open-ended questions to help the team member arrive at a rational thought/answer. And hopefully, that person will open up.

What are your biggest lessons learned from resolving conflict within your project teams

Posted by Christian Bisson on: September 27, 2020 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)
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"Marta was watching the football game with me when she said, 'You know, most of these sports are based on the idea of one group protecting its territory from invasion by another group.' 'Yeah,' I said, trying not to laugh. Girls are funny."

- Jack Handey

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