Three Types of Team Conflict And How To Distinguish Them

Marcus Perezi-Tormos
August 17, 2016
Three Types of Team Conflict And How To Distinguish Them

To further understand the complexities of problem solving for your team, here is a take on the three types of conflict that can exist in teams and how to handle them.Content problem:A content problem is when "the issue is the immediate concern." For example, what if a nurse needs to file reports before he leaves, but then forgets? That would be a content problem, because the issue at hand is the missing report.Pattern problem: A pattern problem is when it isn't about the issue itself, but if it's repeating. So, this would be the case if the nurse routinely forgets to turn in his reports over the course of a week.Content and pattern problems: As mentioned, team members can generally solve these two types on their own. This is mostly the case, however, for issues that are within the team (internal). This way, peer accountability is set in motion. If an organization has a healthy culture, then usually pattern and content problems outside of an team (external) can be effectively solved by team members, too. In example, what if a peer bypasses an important process for a product? Team members that experienced the bypass have the capacity to confront the issue.And if it becomes a pattern problem, the team members should hold similar conversations. Also, they should remind other team members that if no change occurs, then they will need to escalate the issue.Relationship problem: And lastly, a relationship problem is when the issue itself has more to do with team members not trusting or respecting each other, or if there are concerns over competence. Because of the nature of this problem, it typically calls for change in a policy or a relationship. Therefore, this is suitable for a manager, since it requires a structural change and a level of leadership to enact.Source: HBR

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