Managing Intra-Team Conflict

Daniel Morse
2 min readDec 19, 2022

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Conflict is like a “Ringwraiths” in Lord of the Rings.

It swoops in and sucks the life out of you.

You may have workplace conflict fatigue if you:

  • Frequently waste energy worried about how someone will respond.
  • Leave meetings with less energy than when you entered.
  • Constantly second guess yourself (internal conflict fatigue). Conflict exists even if unspoken.

Of course, conflicts fall on a spectrum:

Minor conflicts are solved through strong organizational foundations. You can lubricate connections through declared cultural norms, in onboarding and repeated by founders. Good team processes, such as Kanban Boards and work Sprints and Retrospectives bake in moments to smooth tensions and learn together. Hiring checklists can skew recruitment towards socially emotionally intelligent people. These foundations reduce the micro-frictions between people. Declared culture norms give people a default “answer” on how to behave in times of uncertainty.

Other conflicts require more work.

Medium to large conflicts can be addressed through training. The LARA framework (Listen, Affirm, Respond, Add) helps you bridge understanding between two perspectives instead of talking over each other. I use this template with those in conflict to help them hone their communication using LARA. You can practice with this worksheet here:

Another method, Non-Violent Communication, moves people away from blaming others to expressing their frustrations as needs to be met. I’ve written extensively on the value of frameworks and how to integrate them into company workflows here.

Some conflicts, however, require more management.

Massive conflicts require moderation. Designate a team member to be the go-to moderator for these challenging conversations. The Restorative Practice dialogue format helps repair harm done within the community. The process consists of gathering all stakeholders and working through a dialogue to repair relationships, raise conscientiousness, restore culture, and increase understanding and social intelligence of all stakeholders affected. Luckily, they have well worn scripts to make these conversations easy to facilitate.

Conflict fatigue may be unavoidable. But at least we have solutions.

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Daniel Morse

2x Founder. Community Organizer. Educator