Dealing with conflicts in your team

At a workplace there will always be minor disagreements and differences of opinion. The effects of conflict in the workplace are widespread and costly. Its prevalence, as indicated by three serious studies, shows that 24-60 per cent of management time and energy is spent dealing with anger. This leads to decreased productivity, increased stress among employees, hampered performance, high turnover rate, absenteeism and at its worst, violence. The way you handle conflict at the workplace can have a huge impact on how you are viewed as an employee. It can affect your entire career and it can say a lot about your character.

Conflict arises from differences, and when individuals come together in teams, their differences in terms of power, values, and attitudes contribute to the creation of conflict. You can’t win a conflict at work. Winning a conflict means getting the outcome ‘you’ want regardless of what the ‘other’ person wants. Since the underlying issue has not been solved, it will simply reappear later. Hence it is much better to resolve a conflict than win it. Unresolved conflicts make people unhappy at work and can result in antagonism, break-down in communications, inefficient teams, stress and low productivity.

Below are the Q-A sessions in Rediff chat answered by Amit Bansal, the founder and CEO of PurpleLeap.


Joseph askedHi Amit, I have a senior member in my team who always pass on the negative information about the team to the manangement and also trying to spoil our department name, he always a double standard person, how to deal with such people in the team
Amit Bansal answersI suggest evaluate this issue critically. Look at specific instances when he did something to spoil the image of your department or passed on a wrong message to the management. Once you identify these, and you feel most of the instances were fatal, it’s important you escalate it to the manager. If the instances were not grave however may have turned hurtful it’s important you go ahead and bring it to the notice of the person concerned. However, I suggest you evaluate it first and see if the issue that you have identified does actually exist.

Sany askedHi Amit, we are a marketing company and have weekly targets. My team leader just goes beserk if we don’t reach our targets. This is putting me in a lot of pressure. My BP has increased in the last couple of months. I don’t think i’m suited for this job? Is there any point in discussing this with the team lead?
Amit Bansal answers, It’s definitely important to discuss it with the team leader. Going completely crazy will not help in meeting the targets. You must talk to your team lead as well as create an action plan to let the TL know how you are pursuing your targets. This will help him be confident about you and your action plan.

Adam askedHi, This is Adam. I am part of Training Team. Our role is to conduct technical training required by service line and we also involved in cordinating non-tech training. Recently, we have done the assessment for all our employees and figure out what training required by each individual. We want to incoporate the training and expecting the support from production manager but they are not supporting as they think we are eating production money and it is not necessary.
Amit Bansal answers, I think you should talk to the production department with training ROI’s. Educating them how your programs will increase the productivity and affect revenue for them. This will help them look at it as an investment rather than a waste of time.

Shubha asked, Good afternoon Amit, I’ve just recently joined this company. I’m still in the process of getting to know people in the organization. I’m asked to do something, but nobody explains very clearly how I’m supposed to do the task, once I’ve completed the task my way, then they give advise on how I should have done it. Wouldn’t it save a lot of my time, if they had briefed me in the beginning itself? Is it okay for me to say this to the team lead?
Amit Bansal answers, Whenever you join a new organization you will have to take extra efforts to check and clarify tasks. Usually this is your ice-breaking time. So don’t wait for others to tell you… go ahead and ASK.

cmpopat asked, Dear sir, We have two senior colleagues always fighting for nothing but ego, and their work is suffering.WHAT IS THE BEST THING TO DO AS A BOSS?
Amit Bansal answers, Make a note of a few instances where you noticed this behavior and how it affected the organization’s work. Call for a meeting with both of them and discuss these points with them. Allow them to put forth their points and assess them. Create an action plan and ask each one of them to agree with you and each other to consciously work on the action plan.

Rekha asked, Hi Amit, I enjoy working as the sales manager in my company, but it has been a struggle to work with my financial manager. At every meeting, this person takes great care to explain why all my ideas were unworkable. Also, he keeps asking for sales projections and financial data and always wanted it in detail. Supplying these figures is taking up a large amount of my department’s already packed schedule. Any tips on how I can work with this perfectionist?
Amit Bansal answers, Take specific instances of where the person has been unreasonable. I suggest you to sit down and evaluate if his way of working is really unreasonable or is it bothering you just because it consumes a lot of time and effort to respond to his questions. Once you have identified that, take your feedback to him and over a conversation bring it to his notice. It may so happen that he is not aware how he being perfectionist is actually not helping anyone. However, if you find out in your analysis of the issue that he is not really unreasonable but his ability to question the details helps the organization to identify a better solution, then you may want to plan out a different way of dealing with his questions without being over bearing to your team members.

Rajesh askedFive general tips to resolve tensions within the team and get them to perform well
Amit Bansal answers, 1. Allow the stages of team formation to complete it’s cycle in your team. 2. Create an environment for healthy debate within the team. 3. Develop the habit of giving and taking feedback among team members. 4. Respect individuals and appreciate regularly. 5. Add excitement to work by allowing creativity and freedom at workplace.

RP asked, Hi Amit, I have a senior member on team who generally do not share knowledge/status with other team members and tries to show that he is most critial in team. How to deal with such person.
Amit Bansal answers, Give a task or position to the senior member where his primary task is to share his knowledge. This way you are making it necessary for him to proactively share information which he usually likes to keep to himself. It’s alright sometimes to allow people to feel important as long as the overall work is not affected.

Anand asked, Hi Amit, I don’t think my colleagues understand me.. I’m so frustrated at times, I feel like starting off a new company on my own. Is there any way in which I can make myself clear to them?
Amit Bansal answers, What makes you think your colleagues do not understand you?

bond asked, specific instance is suppose when i put forth my presentation which is full of statistics and insights my coleagues enever appreciate it and try to put me down. They try to impress upon my boss that my work counts to nothing.
Amit Bansal answers, Well I suggest in such scenarios, you need to ask specific questions. Like asking them what exactly they felt is not right. A lot of times when people are over criticizing, it’s a good idea to ask them… if they were in your place how would they do the same thing differently. Or asking them for a solution rather than just accepting criticism. Ensure that you are asking questions in a polite manner without sounding defensive.

nottyn asked, if there is a conflict with a team mate at work, do you think it is better to solve it with the colleague or should it be solved in the presence of the team?
Amit Bansal answers, If the situation is sensitive it’s better to resolve it one on one. In most cases avoid bringing differences in a team meeting. It’s always good to resolve things by talking in person. However, if you feel an input is required from the other people of the team, only those team members can be invited to resolve specific issues.

PrasannaShetty askedSir, I have just joined a new company. I have a lot of ideas but I dont want to put them across to the organisation and make myself look like im some smarty pants. How do i do that without creating trouble within the team for me
Amit Bansal answers, Go one thing at a time. Be vocal in team meetings and don’t hesitate to give new ideas. Be subtle and bring them one by one. Also work hard to become a part of the team.

Aby askedHi Amit, Do you think it is okay to argue with your team mate and get a matter cleared than letting it simmer and create a health problem for me?
Amit Bansal answers, Absolutely. However rather than calling it an argument call it a discussion so that each one of you talks with an open mind and agree and disagree if required.

suchita asked, Amit, we work in a team of five. Three of my team mates are friends from college, so they kind of gang up and sometimes, me and my other colleague feel left out. How to ask them to keep their friendship out of office?
Amit Bansal answers, Well I guess it may be difficult to do so. And I know that this can be disturbing. Why don’t you organize an outing for all of you? If you all are fairly new as a team it will take its due course to settle in and become friends. Maybe give it some time as well.

bond asked, Dear Amit Sir, how do i bond well with my team when i know that my boss and my colleagues are purposely putting down my efforts. They always think that my work is not good compared to theirs and my boss also believes them. As a result I have stopped co-operating with my coleagues and my boss. Please help as i don’t want to leave this company.
Amit Bansal answers, Can you let me know specific instances which made you feel you are being put down by your colleagues and boss? Because sometimes we just assume things which may not be very real.



Chat Date: March 14, 2012


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