No one likes to see conflict on a team, but no matter how well your team members get along or how long you have worked together, conflict is inevitable. A good manager is prepared for these situations and has a toolbox of techniques at the ready to use when necessary. Here are five mistakes to avoid if you are in a team leadership position.
Part of your image as a leader is your ability to stay calm under stress and to be approachable by all employees on your team when they need to address problems. It’s impossible not to be frustrated, annoyed and irritated during the course of a busy work day, but don’t let it interfere with your face-to-face interactions. If you sense that you are having a negative emotional response to someone, step away and come back to the issue later when the feeling has passed. You will find that you will have greater clarity on the issue at hand, as well.
Effective team management requires a good leader who has an unwavering message, day in and day out; although you will likely favor some people over others because of personality or like-mindedness, you have to be sure no one is getting favored treatment or more information than others. This doesn’t mean that you create a fake mask to present to the world; workers can always tell when you behave in a robotic fashion instead of establishing and upholding your own value system. What is does mean is that you need to be constantly evaluating yourself to be sure that what you say and do is uniform and consistent towards everyone in all situations. Try not to have one-on-one conversations regarding the everyday workflow, but rather use group meetings, bulletin boards, and conference calls so everyone is included and getting the same message.
Your workers should always feel comfortable approaching you and speaking to you frankly about what concerns them. You should likewise always be asking them for an appraisal of your performance as a leader. Other people will have many insights that you could never discover on your own, and you may be surprised at how you are viewed by others. As you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you will become a more effective at team leadership.
You don’t want to get caught in an echo chamber. Even with a properly diverse team that has an open line of communication with you, you will only grow in your abilities if you commit yourself to learning more and pursuing training opportunities. You should keep going to those seminars and read articles and books on professional topics.
Self-improvement also requires practice. Set goals for yourself and develop a way to measure your progress towards them. Have a list of goals for every day that you go to the office, but keep it realistic. As you document your actions, you will have a clearer picture of what you are accomplishing and what you should change.