Your biggest challenge as a cross-functional team leader is in identifying, managing, and resolving all the various types of conflict that will arise, making sure the team delivers on its objectives.
Cross-functional team leaders will experience many common forms of conflict.
Conflicting priorities occur when people have their regular full-time jobs and they’re working on tasks on a cross-functional team too. While both sets of tasks have to be completed, prioritization isn’t always clear.
Conflicting ideas are common on a cross-functional team. One of the beauties of these teams is people bringing different perspectives and ideas. What gets problematic is when people disagree on which idea or approach is best. At the very least, people don’t like having their ideas challenged or criticized by colleagues.
Conflicting interpersonal styles come up when some people like working from home versus working in the office. Some people like coming in late. Some people like staying late. Some people like sending email on weekends. And some people don’t even want to see their computer. There are a lot of different stylistic differences out there. Given you’re leading people from all different functions, styles are definitely going to clash.
Conflicting personalities are caused by mixes of introverts and extroverts. Or risk-takers and risk-averters. You may have optimists and pessimists. You may have the logical and the emotional. There are all different combinations of personality types. And there’s a lot of potential conflict there.
Conflicts over performance crop up when someone is perceived to not be pulling their own weight. When one person fails to deliver, it tends to have knock-on effects that affect other team members. This is especially sensitive if someone’s failure to perform negatively impacts the results of someone whose doing a great job.
Your biggest challenge as a cross-functional team leader is in identifying, managing, and resolving all these various types of conflict while at the same time, making sure the team delivers on its objectives. Learn how to sense when these types of conflict are likely, or even present. Take action quickly to resolve them. And get the team focus back on the cross-functional teams objectives at hand.
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