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Star fever. Conflict resolution: team relations and the “smartest” employee as a challenge to the team
16.07.2019 4150

Star fever. Conflict resolution: team relations and the “smartest” employee as a challenge to the team

The correlation of the qualities of each team member with the ability of these people to understand each other and act together is one of the central topics of business education and an important factor in the success and development of an enterprise. How to prevent and resolve conflicts? What is it to be the smartest on the team? And do geniuses need a firm? Questions are answered by expert SR business coach Anya Pabst.
Anya Pabst Anya Pabst - Head of the Russian branch of BEITRAINING. Master of Sociology and Slavic Studies. Education "HR Manager", is a specialist in the field of crisis communication. He has experience working with people in study groups of various profiles both in Germany and abroad. Over the years, Anya Pabst has trained over 150 trainers. For more than 7 years her professional activity has been associated with work in the CIS countries - Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. BEITRAINING is an international franchise company and a certified strategic partner of the German and Austrian Franchising Union on the topic of “Professional Development”. He specializes in training and professional development in the field of management, trade, customer service and personal growth.

From general to specific

The employees in the team are different from each other, even if they have the same education and a similar track record. Each of them has not only his own opinion, but also individual experience, which affects decision making and relationships with colleagues. Different abilities, feelings and life, working situations determine the characteristics of the interaction of a particular individual with other people and the ability to understand and accept others.

The peculiarities of the human psyche make us even unconsciously evaluate the ideas and actions of other people, give them a positive or negative connotation in the framework of our own value system, in which, by the way, our own actions and experiences always take precedence. The tendency to value judgments at the level of friend or foe or bad-good is reflected in the working relationship. And even if the separation into black and white is easiest, do not get tired of reminding yourself that in life there are usually no perfect or, conversely, definitely bad people.

It would seem that the banal judgment about the absence of “the ultimate truth” often evaporates during labor disputes, when the parties are ready to defend their innocence to the last. The tendency to consider their opinions true and the unwillingness to listen to the interlocutor is one of the most harmful qualities for working in a team. Therefore, the creation of “geniuses” or “indisputable authorities” in a collective is so dangerous.

The above applies to members of any team, regardless of their age. Experience is being enriched over the years, but it happens that young specialists managed to visit completely different situations and can compete with senior colleagues in the number of successful and unsuccessful cases that affect the adoption of relevant decisions.

Comparing understanding landscapes

Making joint decisions in a team, especially a very heterogeneous one, depends on the ability of its members to concentrate on the goal, and not on upholding their own opinions. The term “goal” can include several meanings: these are expectations, tasks, and mission. To work on a common goal, you need to be ready to understand others: recognizing yourself as the smartest member of a team or those who consider themselves not capable enough to decide to say something different from the opinion of a recognized "star" in the team.

In some thematic training programs aimed at teamwork, the term “landscapes of understanding” is used, its author is Anya Pabst, the head of the Russian branch of Beitraining. She is convinced: before starting the discussion and starting to argue, it is necessary to compare the landscapes of understanding, to find out that all participants understand the most important terms the same thing - starting from goals and ending with ways to achieve them.

The path to resolving the conflict arises when all participants are ready to go towards each other. Reluctance to give in to another and to listen to someone else’s opinion arises from various reasons - from the desire to be right and insulting feelings in a dispute to a lack of attention to the feeling that a leader or colleagues are not able to value colleagues. One of the reasons associated with the above is also the uncertainty created by the mistrust of team members to each other.

Seven times to measure

In the sphere of working relations, in addition to distrust in the team (both at the same level between colleagues and between the boss and subordinate), a situation often arises in which one of the parties requires, on the contrary, to trust too much its “honest word”. For the existence of healthy relationships in a team this can be even more dangerous, and conflicts arising on this basis can easily turn into protracted and insoluble.

Examples include an opaque bonus scheme, when some employees feel left out, unexpected changes in the sales plan in the middle of the month with the explanation “it’s necessary, just trust my decision” or the payment of wages “in an envelope”, full or partial. The above and dozens of other reasons lead to distrust, non-transparent labor relations and the emergence of conflicts in the team. Conflicts tend to accumulate and grow, like a snowball. Even more accurate is the association with an iceberg, six of which is hidden under water.

Sometimes, even the most intelligent leader in the world cannot solve accumulated problems on his own, especially those that have been accumulating for a long time. In such cases, assistance from the side is required, which is much easier to accept than, after all, to meet with the offended party in court.

Another trend, potentially rich in conflicts, arises from the formation of informal groups in a collective. They are formed if the boss has “favorites”, as well as around the most successful and charismatic personalities in the team. If a conflict situation arises in a team, employees may prefer to hold their opinion or not support the one who is actually right, only out of fear to endanger “friendship”, that is, informal relations. Many are afraid to make a remark to a higher-ranking employee for fear of their place or fear of spoiling relations with their superiors, standing up for a colleague.

Preventive measures are often the best solution. The leader, whose main tool is dialogue, not sanction, should monitor the potential for conflict and timely respond to dangerous signals. The practice of monthly conversations in which the parties openly talk about their problems and comments, learn to criticize the case and accept criticism helps to reduce the likelihood of conflicts with the boss himself. Preventing a conflict fire is always easier than extinguishing it after it occurs.     

Do not make yourself an idol

A heterogeneous team, where its individual members are distinguished by their intelligence and abilities, not only opens up opportunities for growth, but also hides a greater conflict potential in itself than a more or less homogeneous group. Each leader seeks to create a strong team that better copes with difficulties, quickly and effectively responds to new challenges. But what is the danger of having a “wise guy” in a team?

By itself, the most intelligent or recognized as such an employee is able to give an impetus to the development of others - the rest will follow him, and the atmosphere will not stagnate. But in any business, the main thing is not to go too far. Firstly, the difference in potentials is a favorable field for envy and intrigue. It is not enough that the "wise guy" tries not to ask and give the floor to others. First of all, a leader is responsible for a healthy atmosphere, who should fairly give out praises and bonuses, and not produce offended employees, praising the “genius”.

The next danger is the cult of personality. The rest of the employees can relax and unlearn themselves to take on challenges and respond to problems. Why, if any problem becomes the problem of a recognized genius? So other team members cease to believe in themselves, and motivation beats anti-records. The "Star" in the team draws responsibility - the team members dampen and stop putting forward their own ideas, as well as underestimating their strength. Therefore, the distribution of responsibilities and competencies should create for each employee a field of responsibility, where he himself must achieve success and be responsible for the result.

For the "wise guy" a series of successes and great ideas can be dangerous because he begins to believe in his own infallibility. And colleagues, crushed by his authority, will not be able to identify the error or simply will not want to deal with it. Anyone can make mistakes - and only the culture of attitude to mistakes as a whole at the enterprise will allow the best employees not to go blind in the rays of their own glory. The ability to admit one’s mistakes and learn from them, like many things in an enterprise, must, first of all, come from superiors. Moreover, a boss who knows how to recognize his own mistakes seems more humane and often smarter than someone who does everything, but does not admit that he stumbled.

Often more responsibility and tasks fall on the “wise guy”, because the management hopes that he will deal with them the best. But one person cannot replace a whole team, and overstrain and overtime lead to burnout, mistakes and loss of motivation.

The strength of the team should not be based solely on the talent of its individual members, even the very best. A competent distribution of responsibilities, the ability to work together and listen to others, a transparent leadership policy and balanced delegation of authority affect the success of an enterprise more than having its own genius in the team. If the relationship in the team is built correctly, this allows you to realize their potential and its most intelligent members, and the middle peasants.

This article was published in the 152 issue of the print version of the magazine.

The correlation of the qualities of each team member with the ability of these people to understand each other and act together is one of the central topics of business education and an important factor in success and development ...
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