In the previous part, Ciklum’s Program Manager Evgeniy Labunskiy has described the nature of conflict and which benefits it can bring to your team. Now let’s find out how you may use it for better team performance at the different team development stages.

Check here Conflict As a Tool of Successful Delivery. PART 1

Different Stages = Different Conflicts?

Correct managing of conflicts and “moderated conflicts” will give you the tool bringing your team to perform faster. Let’s take Bruce Tuckman’s stages of group development to see how we can manage conflicts at the different stages of team development.

stages

Forming

The team is at the “Forming stage” not only when it is just made and starting a project. When you are the newly appointed manager of the already working team, it is also Forming.

 

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Storming

The worst stage of team development. As all the worst things usually happen here – team separation, ostracism, personal conflicts. If you are a manager, all your conflict management will be focused here.

 

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Norming

This is the stage when conflicts are turning into disputes based on facts and argumentation. Your team is stable, and you finally set goals and plan work without disruptions.

 

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Performing

Conflicts are almost absent here. All team members know what to expect from each other. As a manager, you can support now the soft skills development in your team members.

 

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I do not consider here Adjourning stage, as this is supposed to be the final team development stage. Everyone is happy and no conflicts occur as the team work is finalised.

 

Manager’s Dos and Don’ts In Conflicts

Dont’s

  • Never withdraw from the conflict. It will chase you anyway
  • Leave conflict unresolved
  • Think that you are the only one right
  • Don’t escalate the conflict by attacking and blaming
  • Don’t try to calm down the other person

Do’s

  • Live discussions. Start unpleasant conversations and don’t be lazy to explain
  • Understand what is the result expected in discussion and define the arguments missed
  • Ask for opinion, especially from non-formal leaders, as it may be the most relevant
  • Keep neutrality. Ask for facts, and keep track of conversation
  • Understand when the conflict gives no results, and postpone to get back with facts
  • Operate with arguments and facts, but not emotions

 

“In my practice, I had the situation when junior QA has brought cool and fresh ideas into the team. He has just graduated, and as a testing specialist, he had to read and learn a lot. However, as a junior team member, he was always silent during discussions. Use one-to-one meetings to shake up such people and make them share the opinion.”

 

“What does not kill us …” or Post Effect of Conflicts

First of all, with every solved conflict your team will learn how to solve future conflicts using cooperation not fighting. As soon as you show the team that you are good in conflict management, they will understand you as a Leader, start listening to you and will follow your response to their opinions. The quality of solutions will also become higher, as you will have more personal opinions, ideas and thus more options to choose from. Naturally, the team atmosphere will get better and finally the team performance will also get better. Isn’t it your main aim as a manager?

 

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If you find that your development process is weak at some points, contact Ciklum to improve the performance of your software development team.