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Dealing With Conflicts of Interest Within a Team

Dealing With Conflicts of Interest Within a Team

What is the best method for dealing with conflicts of interest within a team?

All organisations exist to achieve their Ultimate Aims.

All organisations consist of subordinate teams, which should work together in a spirit of mutual cooperation to achieve the Ultimate Aim.

Conflicts between subordinate teams are dangerous, because organisations that suffer from internal "civil wars" are highly susceptible to failure.

So, it is important that "conflicts of interests" between warring factions, are resolved quickly.

Ultimately, there can be NO true "conflicts of interests" between subordinate teams, because they are all trying to achieve the same Ultimate Aim.

When there appears to be a conflict of interests, it is resolvable by judging the warring teams "conflicting interests" against the standard of the Ultimate Aim, and we find that one is more valuable (to the Ultimate Aim) than the other.

The general principle is:

If we have to choose between two or more competing interests: We always sacrifice the lesser values for higher ones, ie Whichever of the competing options adds most value to the Ultimate Aim, wins.

Who should make the decision?

The decision is made by the one who is paid to make important decisions, ie The senior person in the room should make the decision.

Decisions are not always binary.

There are many situations where a compromise between competing views is possible.

In that case, we don't need to choose between A and B.

Instead, we use this image to help us decide what to do:

  • One circle is: What Team A wants.
  • Second circle is: What Team B wants.
  • Third circle is: What is logically possible.

Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People : Dealing With Conflicts of Interest Within a Team

The solution to the conflict is to be found in the intersection between the three sets. We are looking for the set of "logically possible conditions" that satisfy the needs of both A Team and B Team.

Please note that this set of conditions is small, when compared to the size of the whole shape. Which means it is often difficult to see. And it may not even exist!

If we get everyone into the same room and we draw the three-circle diagram onto the board and ask all concerned to write down their needs, and their ideas on how we might achieve them, then a "practical compromise solution" may soon be found, by mutual agreement.

If a "mutually agreed compromise solution" cannot be found, then a solution is imposed by the Decision Maker, who uses the organisations Ultimate Aim as the standard, against which to judge the competing claims.

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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