One thing is inevitable during your project (or program) and that is a team (let us be hopeful it is not yours) will encounter conflict at some point in the team’s fleeting and hopefully productive life.
Dealing with team problems can consume a proportionally considerable amount of time. Be warned, it will take more time than you’d think would possible.
It is more prudent to look out for the warning signs that indicate that there is trouble ahead.
Identify issues as early on as possible. It is easier if you keep an eye out for them throughout the project (or program).
Once identified, you need to start addressing the issue as soon as practical, certainly before things deteriorate. As usual, this easier said than done.
The key is spotting those warning signs. So what do you need to look for:
- The atmosphere at meetings is tense and uncomfortable.
- Some team members are withholding information from others, thereby impacting the ability of others to perform activities.
- Disagreements are rife, ad-hoc meetings typically held in private excluding some members of the team.
- There are problems or issues that the team members refuse to discuss (for fear of repercussions).
- Cliques or factions have formed thereby excluding some members of the team.
- Certain team members dominate all proceedings at the detriment of other team members.
- Team member disagreement on roles, responsibilities and work assignments.
- Power struggles typical at the formation of the team are continuing unabated.
There are numerous other warning signs. But those above are the ones I have witnessed recently. They give you an awareness of what to keep an eye out for.