Warring Factions within a Team

Personality conflicts among team members can rob the team of functionality and peace of mind. The clich stating "Birds of a feather flock together", is ultimately behind formation of cliques within a team. Team members who possess similar personality traits and perspectives will tend to band together, both to meet their social needs, and to advocate for approaches and viewpoints that they value.

Disagreements between individual team members and/or team cliques generally make life miserable for the entire team. Team leaders who are responsible for maintaining unity may be called upon to mediate the differences between the various factions that exist in an effort to restore team harmony. One means of mediating group or individual differences is a targeted feedback activity called "Image Exchange".

To conduct an image exchange, follow these instructions. The individuals or groups (cliques) involved in a given conflict will be asked to make six lists in preparation for a meeting. The lists will complete these six sentences.

  1. We (I) would like more of these things from the other people (person).
  2. We (I) would like less of these things from the other people (person).
  3. We (I) would like the other people (person) to continue giving us (me) the same as they are currently giving of the following items.
  4. We (I) think the other people (person) will want more of these things from us (me).
  5. We (I) think the other people (person) will want less of these things from us (me).
  6. We (I) think the other people (person) will want the same of these things from us (me).

Once the information is gathered the groups or individuals will meet and reveal their lists to one another beginning with an exchange of lists containing the last sets of data. Once expectations have been set, each group/person will reveal their wants. An ensuing negotiation can then occur to decide how each group/person will meet the requests of the opposing faction.


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