Individuals from diverse backgrounds face perpetual gaps when they come together to work as a team. Since conflict within a team exists, it must be managed. I believe that collaboration is the key to managing that conflict. The first step is to identify whether the conflict is based on task disagreements or personality related issues. Task conflicts can often be beneficial during the design and preparatory phases. Personality conflicts tend to be detrimental to the team as a whole, interfering with the project at hand, taking valuable time away from the efforts, and at times exacerbating personality differences that prevent team members from communicating at all. The goal is to minimize personality conflicts and manage it outside the start-up environment. Team building exercises through social activity is certainly a good way to build confidence and cohesiveness.
Its not important that team members need to like each other, rather they need to respect each other professionally and focus on the task to get the job done. Once the focus is on disagreements about the job at hand, collaboration can take place. Through collaboration, disagreements can be altered into joint gains. Collaboration here doesn’t mean compromise or giving-in, but more mutually beneficial results based on more effective communication. Following three techniques could be used to support collaboration at your Startup,
1. Create a group atmosphere that supports team focus, the capability to solve the problem, trust among each other, and open conflict communication channels. Trust is the critical factor here.
2. Look for and act on opportunities for promoting joint gain between the conflicting members. It is also important that team members exchange factual information, that in turn can facilitate trade-offs across different issues. Exchange of views and insights thus becomes very critical, as usually people tend to “one up” each other and the conflict get worse and more personal. They key here is to recognise that this is happening and try to respond with a new tact, a direct response that brings the conflict into the open, or a more integrative and collaborative response that might shift the process back on track.
3. Develop and build an attitude of cooperation, collaboration and openness to creative thinking that can often lead to win-win situation during conflict, which often leads to innovative, superior solutions.
Collaboration requires interdependence on other team members. Negative emotional outbursts and attitudes such as frustration and anger tend to interfere with collaboration. These emotions need to be kept in check and resolved as personal conflict outside the work.