The Art of Conflict Management

Searching for conflict management in your development team can help your scale-up grow. That’s because troubled environments can decrease team productivity and also affect the delivery of results to your customers, decreasing quality and increasing production time.

Thinking of helping you in this moment, we have prepared an article that details which are the main causes of these conflicts and which are the most used methods to solve them. Check it out below.

Why do conflicts happen?

Communication Failures

One of the main factors leading to team conflicts is the lack of communication between members or between managers. Most of the time this happens because of lack of experience in people management of the company’s leaders, or because they think they are in control of the situation, leaving other professionals lost on the progress of the projects. Although this can be good for the responsible leader, keeping things vacant can be highly detrimental for those who work around them.

Besides, the communication failure leads to ambiguity and uncertainty of people if their work is being well done, which can create types of conflicts that manifest themselves in some ways. The first of them is the recognition that you, as a leader, are not making clear the work function of every professional. This makes each one’s insecurity increase in the course of the days. Another problem that can happen are the misunderstandings between colleagues because they create expectations about the work performed by another person, thus increasing the distrust.

As already mentioned in previous articles here on our blog, the feedback culture have a very important role in the productivity of any company’s professionals. Failure to provide it or not being clear in doing so may give the impression that you don’t care about your team and the role it plays.

Unequal treatment among professionals

Another factor that can trigger some relationship problems is the unequal treatment between professionals of the same team. If not all of your company is having the same access to training, development or promotion opportunities, this harms the issue of meritocracy in the work environment and leads to frustration of the professional.

Moreover, not providing professionals with the right tools, resources and training to do their job properly is quite unfair at the time of some charge. This factor can also lead to conflict because of dissatisfaction.

Troubled environment

Within any company a troubled and disorganized environment can increase – and much – the need for conflict management. Factors such as: bad work environment, confrontation between professionals about work issues, shock between personalities and stress are some of these points.

Moreover, the issue of exhaustion is also common, especially in the technology environment. With the rush of everyday life, some situations such as stress and overwork in development sprints can trigger serious situations in which the professional will not be able to continue with his work, affecting the internal climate.

Bad management

Perhaps the most recurrent indicator of why internal conflicts occur is mismanagement. Not managing people properly, having a superiority complex, being a micro manager or being so far away that you are just a leader by the name of the position and not in action, can arouse negative feelings that can spread all over the team.

Besides, the lack of planning with schedules, meetings, deadlines are also problems that need to be solved. Another important factor is the team building. Due to the work requirement of each sector of a technology team, it is very important that the organization of your squad happens so that the needs found in the production of your product are remedied by the team.

For productivity to be high, your technology team needs to have professionals responsible for different areas, who, together, can complete all the stages present in the backlog. For this reason, when hiring professionals with different profiles and who have a creative, proactive profile and the ability to lead.

Models for conflict management

In order to avoid the serious consequences on your team, you as a leader need some tools to solve conflicts quickly and effectively. Fortunately, there are some different resolution models that can help you in that moment. Although one works better than the other, the models are not independent and should be used together to find a more effective way to overcome the conflict.

Nonviolent communication

Applying nonviolent communication to your development team is one of the main methods of conflict management. Created by Marshall Rosenberg, the goal of non-violent communication is to find a common agreement between the opposing parties and not a compromise. In this approach, there is no unilateral solution. Instead, the manager facilitates conversation and encourages people to be open, but also to listen and hear what the other person wants and needs. In this way, it is possible to find a way to solve that can please both sides.

Rational approach

Another way to solve problems among team members is to use a rational approach. In order to do this in the best way possible, some attitudes such as: separate those involved from the problem, focus their action on the interests of those involved and not on their positions, learn to manage the emotions of professionals and know how to give constant feedback, can help in the resolution of internal conflicts.

Use your authority wisely

Although authority is necessary at certain times, and in every company, if exercised incorrectly, it can be the greatest source of incidence of conflicts. Leadership can be divided in two types: formal authority, given by someone trusted inside the company, and informal, conquered by the professional in his career.

During all this process it’s important to ensure that, in both cases, a good leadership, trust and responsibility is demonstrated so that the team trusts the leader and works together to minimize internal problems.

Self Management

Last but not least, self-management can help you. This form of conflict resolution process includes mechanisms such as individual discussion, mediation between professionals and team mediation. Some self-managed organizations also use coaching to deal with conflicts. Some important processes can be performed:

  • In the first phase, the two people sit together and try to solve the particular problem.
  • If they can’t find a solution that pleases both, they appoint a colleague they both trust to act as a mediator. The mediator does not impose a decision. Instead, he or she supports the participants in finding their own solutions.
  • If the mediation fails, a team of colleagues can be called.
  • If a resolution is not found, the leader or manager can be called to the problem to increase the moral weight of the team’s choices, but, again, without imposing a solution.

This way, the success rate in conflict management tends to increase in your company, without you needing to take all these responsibilities for yourself, demanding an extra time that you could use in activities fundamental to the growth of your business.


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