We have all seen conflict arise 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. Simple decisions become “federal cases.” Work grinds to a crawl. Fun evaporates. Everyone suffers.
People then look to us, the leaders (with or without title), to deal with this conflict. They want us to jump in. Each wants us to say she or he is right and the other is wrong.
When we see this dynamic, we must pause. We must notice that these unwanted situations feel bad. To feel better, we may be tempted to jump in with a ruling or solution. But no amount of judgement, finesse, or accommodation will help us navigate these swamps. We solving these conflicts is a “lose” all around.
That’s because these are not our conflicts. They are theirs. The solution is to 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,