Best Ways Leaders Address Conflict for Best Teamwork Results

Ways Leaders Address Conflict By:TarikB

Some leaders see conflict as active teamwork that produces the best ideas. Other leaders see conflict as non-teamwork. It is likely that conflict will occur on teams. The key question is: What are the best ways for leaders to address conflict for the best teamwork results?

I asked leaders: How do you address conflict on and between teams to get great teamwork results regardless of the situation?

The responses I received:

  1. The best way to address conflict to ensure teamwork results is: “Select individual team members for their great attitude and for their ability to work on diverse teams in difficult situations.”
  2. “We deal with each conflict as it arises. I first ask the people to work it out. If they can’t, I step in and resolve the conflict.”
  3. “I tell everyone to stay focused on the team goals and overlook the rest.”
  4. “I am not a baby sitter. Team members are adults. I tell them to work it out between them.”
  5. “I don’t like conflict.  I try to make peace as quickly as possible when I am confronted. I am not sure how to arbitrate disputes when it is between two other people.”

Try My Proven Practices to Address Team Conflict


Distinguish between opposing views and opposing each other. The first can lead to a great result. The second goes nowhere. You will clearly see which is happening once you are aware.

Have each person present the other person’s view. This helps turn the conflict into a productive exchange of ideas. Teach this technique and moderate while they are learning.


Hold a team development session to assess each team member’s personality type and discuss how to interact for best teamwork results. A diverse team often produces better results because it has more outlooks and talents. Yet, if team members do not know or understand the dynamics of personality types, you get interpersonal conflict or cliques of similar types. Personality types impact teamwork. Understanding personality types helps to both prevent and resolve interpersonal conflict. The return on your investment of time and money is significant.

Ask yourself, what conditions are leading to this conflict? As a leader, have you been unclear about goals? Have you fallen short in handling organizational politics and put teams at odds with each other? Do you hide from conflict and hope it will just go away?

Instead, show everyone how to communicate honestly with respect and without brutality. Read more at … 4 Spring Training Exercises for Best Teamwork Results

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, consults and trains leaders and their teams on effective communication for best teamwork results. Her 20 years of real life experience has produced these proven results. Sign up for her free info-packed newsletter in the sidebar on this page. Contact her directly for a free phone consultation on your team challenge.

6 Responses to “Best Ways Leaders Address Conflict for Best Teamwork Results”

  1. D. Hasatta says:

    I have worked for three very different leaders. The one I had the toughest time with did not want any disagreement at all — ever. I like working with others and being in harmony yet expecting everyone to be smiling and always agreeing is unrealistic. I don’t think it produces the best results.
    I really liked your first point: Distinguish between opposing views and opposing each other. Opposing views leads to healthy examination of options.
    I wish my former boss could have understood that!
    Great post. Glad I found it.
    Dee Hasatta

  2. Audrey Williams says:

    The above practices to address conflict are worthwhile to think about. They all stem from ‘ATTITUDE” based on “SELF ESTEEM”. This is to say that “the first practice to address conflict is to search within yourself focusing on “self esteem” and your “attitude”.

  3. Jane Perdue says:

    Kate — it’s good to see you addressing this often-ignored topic. Conflict is a given in the workplace. As Fresh Tracks, a UK-based team development company, observes, “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 distinguish good leaders by how they manage positive conflict (which is healthy) and negative conflict (attacking the who versus the do). Ignoring any kind of conflict is the wrong response, so your tips and pointers are great tools to help leaders work through it!

  4. Bridget Webber says:

    Kate, this is a great article as it full of rich ideas about how to deal with a difficult subject. I particuarly like the idea about getting individuals to see different points of view, by pretending they are standing in each others shoes. Once people can understand each other better, they are far more likely to resolve issues.

  5. MarkSpizer says:

    great post as usual!

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