How to Manage Conflict in a Team? - Transforming Tech-Team Conflicts into Opportunities

January 30, 2024
Reading time: 2 min

Turning a bunch of disconnected professionals into a synergetic team is not a trivial challenge. Maintaining such synergy is yet another challenge that can sometimes feel overwhelming.

At Smartexe we manage numerous organic teams of developers for our customers overseas. And our key priority is to keep these teams prosperous.

Real Life Example of Conflict Resolution

Today, we share a small story with a big lesson. It’s about how a bit of empathy can change a negative team trajectory into a positive one. This team has been working together for over two years. Big international client. High stakes. Yet, no challenge could break them apart, from a complex MVP to a thigh delivery schedule of a product launch.

Everybody was familiar with their social roles as well. Mary, the PM was in charge of the memes; Lev, the designer, took care of ordering out; Olena, the front-end was questioning the need for meetings; and Alex, the back-end, was the constructive criticism guy.

…Well his criticism was constructive at the beginning, but after a while the constructive part has disappeared. Alex's suggestions became increasingly frequent, irritating even the most easy-going team members.

We know that some other companies would at this point call Alex for a warning conversation and put him on probation. But this is not how we handle things in Smartexe. We believe in empathy and it was clear to us that Alex didn’t want to hurt people, he was the one hurting…

Also, we were super open to the fact that we needed to improve. Alex indeed was the most experienced professional in the team. It’s just the way we gave his criticism that needed an urgent shift.

Effective Conflict Resolution

Mary went to brainstorm the topic with HR, and they came up with a great idea. Alex was offered to build a crash course for the team on his favorite topic - Node.js. He also got a gift — a book about the art of conversation and constructive criticism.

Alex was a bit hesitant at first but then jumped on the opportunity. He also got the hint behind the book... Drawing on his expertise in design, front-end, and back-end development, he crafted a comprehensive curriculum for his course and kicked it out.

The course was a success and Alex became one of Smartexe’s mentors who teaches and helps young developers. Now he is always on the lookout for innovative ways to make the learning processes engaging and represents a super positive force within his team as well.

Alex is striving. And so is the team.

What’s the moral of this story? I am sure you’ve got it - empathy, belief in the goodness of people, and a bit of creativity can help you turn a challenge into an opportunity.

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