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Building a functional team is one of the hardest leadership skills to master.

All the negotiation, all the management that goes into it is paramount to mastering leadership, getting promoted and skyrocketing your career. Basically what Job Talk is all about.

So let’s dive right in.

In essence, teamwork is a bunch of moving parts that all have to work together.

Susan hates Harry. Harry has a thing for Jeff. Jess doesn’t even listen to you because you’re not the “official” boss (the official boss is having a three-martini lunch). And so on.

What are you supposed to do?

This happens all the time. Team members engage in verbal sparing matches and you’re supposed to magically create a functional, respectful team.

It’s just like the coalition building thing that’s happening now.

The U.S. and its allies are forming a coalition against the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorist organization.

In a nutshell, President Obama is building a team that will support an airstrike against ISIS.

One problem though: ISIS is in Syria.

This is turning out to be fraught with disaster.

There’s three big players in the game.

One of the players is the Syrian government. They have to allow the bombing to occur in Syria.

The second player is the Syrian rebels, who are amidst a civil war. The rebels are the people in the frontlines, fighting against ISIS. But they’re also fighting against the Syrian government.

And then there is ISIS itself.

Now President Obama is having to walk this tightrope between the Syrian government and the rebels, who hate each other but have the same common enemy.

The first two players share a common goal: stop ISIS. But they also hate each other.

Sort of like how two co-workers who hate each other have to work together on a project for their boss.

This is happening at our very own office at Forster-Thomas.

Our office manager Roberto (who has an enormous ego) and Dan (who also has an enormous ego), one of the mentor leads for our non-profit group, Essay Busters, have been put together on a team project.

Tension runs hot. Roberto, who’s also the Essay Busters coordinator, either loves or hates Dan—there’s no in-between. Basically they have a hard time working together.

At first we were hoping the problem would get resolved on its own.

That rarely happens.

So Auntie Evan stepped in.

He literally took the two of them and dragged them into a room and said, “all right, now we’re going to work it out.”

But that didn’t work. Auntie Evan figured if he just told them the truth, that there’s a common goal here, to just pull it together, all would be fine.

Didn’t happen.

So why doesn’t Auntie Evan just take over the project and do it himself?

This is actually one of the worst things you can possibly do. We’ll explain in a bit.

There’s several things you can do to solve these conflicts.

Uncle David shares his five most solid points on resolving team conflicts:

  1. Don’t stick your head in the sand.
  2. Don’t be the white knight who just swoops in and does it all himself. Yeah, it seems like the only solution. But it solves nothing and only inhibits your leadership abilities and doesn’t get to the root of the problem.
  3. Understand the conflict has no rational basis—it’s rooted in emotion. It’s about grudges and feelings. You can’t move past a grudge until your address and recognize how the team member feels.
  4. Create a social event where some relationship building can occur outside the office space. Resolution does not have to happen on the job.
  5. If you want to be an effective leader, you have to cut to the root of the issue. A simple, “pull it together” will do squat for team building efforts. Yes there’s always a bit of that pep element. But you also have to find out the why behind what their feeling, and then focus your energy on resolving that.

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