Sure, conflict arises between team members. In many cases, resolution is quick. Sometimes, though, the conflict gets personal. The affected team members complain vocally about or quietly sabotage each other. They form alliances. Work grinds to a crawl; what should be simple becomes a “federal case.” Fun evaporates. Everyone suffers.
People then look to us, the leaders (with or without title), to deal with this conflict. They expect us to jump in.
When we see this dynamic, we must pause. We must notice that these situations feel bad. We’d rather not have conflict and the collateral damage. We thus may be tempted to “fix things” with a ruling or solution. But no amount of judgement, finesse, or accommodation will help us navigate these swamps. If we attempt to solve these conflicts, everyone loses.
They get to keep on fighting. We get to keep on holding the burden of solving the problems. And they get to blame us and hold themselves blameless.
We need to see that these are not our conflicts. They are theirs. Let’s hold them accountable. Let’s give the problems back to the people with the problems. Once we are clear that they are responsible for working well with each other, we are free and can then facilitate their solutions.
In your corner,