Managing Conflict at Work

November 2nd 2023 | Posted by Mark Geraghty

Building a Collective & Cohesive Team

Conflict Management

Conflict among team members are almost inevitable. However, effective conflict management is essential to ensure a harmonious and productive workplace. One major source of workplace conflicts arises from the formation of groups, cliques, and silos within the organisation. Recognising these signs and implementing strategies to foster a collective and cohesive team can help mitigate conflicts and enhance overall productivity.

Recognising Signs of Groups, Cliques, and Silos

  • Groups: In a business setting, groups can emerge naturally based on shared interests, skills, or projects. While groups can be beneficial for collaboration and innovation, they can also lead to divisions and competition between different groups within the organisation. Signs of groups may include employees gathering exclusively with their own team members, reluctance to collaborate with other groups, or a lack of shared goals across the organisation.
  • Cliques: Cliques are small, exclusive groups formed by individuals who share common characteristics or interests. These closed circles can lead to a sense of exclusion among other employees and hinder open communication and cooperation. Signs of cliques may include frequent socialising among specific individuals, favoritism, and exclusion of others from decision-making processes.
  • Silos: Silos refer to departments or teams within an organisation that operate independently and have minimal communication or cooperation with other units. This lack of cross-functional collaboration can impede the flow of information, hinder problem-solving, and create a sense of isolation among team members. Signs of silos include limited information sharing, a lack of knowledge about other teams’ roles, and resistance to working with other departments.

Strategies for Building a Collective and Cohesive Team

  • Foster a Culture of Inclusion: Promote a culture that values diversity and inclusion, where every employee’s contribution is respected and appreciated. Encourage employees to engage with colleagues from different departments and backgrounds, thus breaking down barriers and reducing the formation of exclusive cliques.
  • Establish Common Goals: Clearly communicate the organisation’s vision and mission to all employees, emphasising the importance of collective success. Encourage cross-functional collaboration by setting shared goals that require cooperation between different teams, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose.
  • Encourage Open Communication: Create an environment where open and honest communication is encouraged and appreciated. This includes active listening, constructive feedback, and providing platforms for employees to voice their concerns and ideas. Regular team meetings and feedback sessions can help in building trust and breaking down silos.
  • Conduct Team-Building Activities: Organise team-building exercises and workshops that encourage employees to work together outside of their usual teams. These activities can help in building rapport and camaraderie among team members, leading to increased collaboration and decreased clique formation.

Understanding and Managing Personalities

  • Utilise Personality Assessments: Consider conducting personality assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the Big Five Personality Traits, to understand individual differences among team members. These assessments can provide valuable insights into communication styles, work preferences, and potential sources of conflict.
  • Encourage Emotional Intelligence: Foster emotional intelligence among team members, helping them understand and manage their own emotions and empathise with others’ feelings. Emotional intelligence can lead to better conflict resolution and improved working relationships.
  • Promote Flexibility and Adaptability: Acknowledge that each team member brings unique strengths and weaknesses to the table. Encourage flexibility in work assignments and allow employees to play to their strengths while developing new skills. This can lead to a more well-rounded and effective team.

Managing conflict in the workplace requires a proactive approach that addresses the root causes of divisions and ensures a collective and cohesive team. By recognising the signs of groups, cliques, and silos, and implementing strategies to foster unity, open communication, and understanding of personalities, businesses can build a positive and productive work environment.

A cohesive team is not only more likely to resolve conflicts effectively but will also be better equipped to tackle challenges and achieve shared organisational goals.

Mark Geraghty


Exec Recruit Group Ltd