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Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution in Work Teams

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Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution in Work Teams

Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution in Work Teams

What are work teams and some of the ways to resolve their differences? Work teams are a group of people working together towards a shared vision or goal. Diversified work teams can be to ones advantage or diversity can lead arguments within the team. Without team dynamics in place conflict rises, and frustration and anger start to grow. This is why learning to resolve conflict issues is so important.

Team dynamics are very complex. One could define the term team dynamics as requiring individuals to motivate each other to achieve a common goal. Most of the time, without success, teams start projects without having a shared vision or goal in mind. That is what makes team dynamics so important. Team dynamics help individuals stay on task and motivate each other. They help build trust, loyalty, and communication.

Teams are made up of individuals with different backgrounds, thinking styles, talents, personality traits, learning styles, academic experiences, ethics, and behaviors who have to interact with each other on various assignments and projects.

Forming a team is difficult without first creating some level of trust, loyalty, and friendship. There are also unseen factors that influence how a person reacts, behaves, performs, and creates either a positive or negative outcome.

For example, in a small office with only eight employees, there may be several friendships and some acquaintanceships formed. The friendships can have either a negative or positive impact on the team. If the friends conduct a great deal of socializing in the office using their regular tone of voice, that would create a positive, relaxed, comfortable atmosphere for the entire team. However, if those friends start whispering, and an acquaintance of theirs, who has had previous issues with one of the friends, hears her whispering, the acquaintance automatically assumes the low tone whispers are about her. The acquaintance, in an effort to test her theory, walks into the room where the conversation is occurring and the talking stops. That will likely result in a negative effect and the inability to concentrate on the tasks at hand. The end product will lead to frustration and anger that builds tension in the office.

This friendship has had an impact on the team's performance and is therefore a team dynamic. That is why team building is a critical component in the success or failure of a work team.

Team building must become a way of life; however, team building is usually seen as a chore where actions contradict the objective. The team needs to develop a clear identity of themselves, becoming aware of each individual's potential as he or she start working together as one unit and not individually. Becoming results-oriented; listening to concerns, needs, and ambitions of each team member, and recognizing the unique contribution each team member can bring to the project will ensure successful team building. Once loyalty and trust have been achieved, individual roles and contributions can be assigned to team members with input and discussion.

There are eight main team roles: coaches, crusaders, explorers, innovators, sculptors, curators, conductors, and scientists (Dieter, 2002).

The first team role is coaches. Coaches build rapport, motivate, and create harmony, and a positive atmosphere. Second are the crusaders. Crusaders generate a sense of team priority, place emphasis on ideas and thoughts, and stress the most important issues for discussions. Another role is the explorers. Explorers uncover new potential in both people and situations and look for new ways to do things. An additional team role is innovators. Innovators contribute alternative perspectives and ideas and produce a sense of imagination. The fifth team role is sculptors. Sculptors are action-oriented and have a clear vision of their goals. Curators, another team role, clarify ideas and information. They attempt to gain additional knowledge and a realistic picture of any situation. Conductors, team role seven, create structure and logic and are procedure-oriented. Lastly, scientists bring structure and organization to ideas.

Conflict is unavoidable. Conflict usually involves individuals on the work team who have an essential need for identity, security, and recognition. They do not like change and are negative during brainstorming sessions or the thought of new ideas. In order to help teams succeed, try to understand the individual team member's personality types; behaviors, learning styles, and ethics.

Conflict has been categorized into three groups: substantive, procedural, and affective conflict. Substantive conflict is a disagreement over ideas. Procedural conflict is disagreeing over the process used to accomplish the goal. Affective conflict centers

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