How well do we handle conflict? A lot of times conflict come from change and many people go through the Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing stages as identified by Bruce Tuckman. The key to handling conflict is weathering each stage, and as a supervisor assisting the others to get through the stages without harsh consequences.
Forming- In a team environment this is where the conflict may arise, but may not be evident yet . As a manager it is important to be involved here to watch the group dynamics at work. In the past this has been the easiest stage for myself.
Storming- Now that everyone knows each other and the comfort level has risen, the conflict may come out. As a supervisor it is not important to squash the conflict as some conflict is healthy. Encourage discussion to talk through the conflict. This is where leadership is developed. I must admit my stubbornness may have lead to conflict in this area, however overall I believe that I have gone with what was rational and ideal a majority of the time.
Norming- The major areas of conflict have passed, but leaders must be aware of lingering feelings. Was someone upset that “their way” was not the way it was done and is holding feelings. Leaders must reaffirm the groups decision and ideas in this stage and still keep an eye out for anything that can break the group dynamic that has formed
Performing- The idea is to get to this stage, a group free of conflict and is performing on all cylinders. Leaders must know though that any change can start the process all over again.