More and more teams and companies are transitioning to fully remote or hybrid teams. These groups are often more prone to unproductive, damaging conflict, as the sources of conflict are many and the options for resolution are few. The following blog will explore the causes of conflict for virtual teams and offer several strategies for virtual managers and employers to use with their team to mitigate the negative effects of conflict.
Causes of Conflict on Virtual Teams
4 Strategies for Reducing Conflict on Virtual Teams
1. Improve Communication
2. Team Chartering
Team chartering is a great tool for any team, but especially for virtual teams. It is the process of collaboratively defining and establishing the fundamental guidelines, goals, roles and expectations for a team. It helps create a shared understanding among team members, fostering a sense of cohesion, accountability, and alignment toward achieving common goals. A well-crafted team charter lays the foundation for effective communication, collaboration and successful project outcomes. Chartering can happen at the beginning of project s or on a semi-regular basis to stay connected with your team.
3. Utilize Online Dispute Resolution Services
When conflict does arise, it is important to engage in productive conflict management strategies early. Many conflict management practitioners offer online versions of their dispute resolution services, such as mediation, arbitration, coaching and facilitation. Contact us to see how we might be able to support you with these services.
4. Create Opportunities for Your Team to Build Rapport and Trust
For virtual teams, the classic ‘water cooler’ chats are less likely to happen. By creating opportunities for your team to connect with one another on a personal level, you can help them begin to develop rapport and trust amongst themselves and with management. Check out this article for how to create a virtual office water cooler.
Virtual teams face additional challenges related to communication, trust and expectations. These challenges create environments ripe for conflict. However, by utilizing proactive strategies for prevention and resolution, organizations can help create positive, safe, productive work environments.